Ohio OVI / DUI Laws & Penalties

Have you or a loved one been charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI / OVI)? Often, the first question that comes to mind is, “What’s going to happen to me?” Getting a straightforward answer can be difficult, time-consuming and stressful. Below is information about Ohio OVI / DUI penalties and the Ohio laws relating to OVI.



Click for our OVI Penalty ChartClick Here to see penalties in chart form (PDF).

After being charged with an OVI / DUI, It’s important to know what you might be facing at your hearing. Below you’ll find some common penalties for first-, second-, third- and fourth-time offenses.

This is a misdemeanor of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • You will be required to spend a minimum of three days in jail

    • Your judge may allow you to complete a 72-hour certified driver intervention program instead
  • The maximum penalty your judge may impose is six months in jail
  • You’ll be fined anywhere from $375 to $1,075 ($300 to $1,000 in Columbus)
  • Your driver’s license will be suspended for six months to three years

Optional:

  • You may regain limited driving privileges after 15 days
  • You may also be assigned additional treatment or education programs
  • You may be required to use restricted license plates, otherwise known as “party plates” (this is unusual for a low tier or impaired OVI first offense, though)
  • The judge may require that an ignition interlock system be installed in your vehicle (also unusual for a first offense)

This is a misdemeanor of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • You will be required to spend a minimum of six days in jail

    • Your judge may allow you to spend three days and jail and complete a 72 hour certified driver intervention program instead
  • The maximum penalty your judge may impose is six months in jail
  • You’ll be fined anywhere from $375 to $1,075 ($300 to $1,000 in Columbus)
  • Your driver’s license will be suspended for six months to three years
  • You will be required to have the restricted license plates (“party plates”) on your vehicle

Optional:

  • You may regain limited driving privileges after 15 days
  • You may also be assigned additional treatment or education programs
  • The judge may require that an ignition interlock system be installed in your vehicle (this is unusual for a first offense, though)
This is a misdemeanor of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • You will be required to spend a minimum of 10 days in jail
  • The maximum penalty your judge may impose is six months in jail
  • You’ll be fined between $525 and $1,625 ($400 – $1,000 in Columbus)
  • You may be ordered to serve part of your jail sentence under house arrest and/or with a SCRAM bracelet (18 days, with five days in jail). You’ll be on probation during this period.
  • Your license will be suspended for one to five years
  • You may regain limited driving privileges after 45 days
  • You will be required to use restricted license plates, otherwise known as “Party Plates”
  • You’ll have to get an alcohol assessment and complete any recommended treatment or education programs
This is a misdemeanor of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • You will be required to spend a minimum of 20 days in jail
  • The maximum penalty your judge may impose is six months in jail
  • You’ll be fined between $525 and $1,625 ($400 – $1,000 in Columbus)
  • You may be ordered to serve part of your jail sentence under house arrest and/or with a SCRAM bracelet (36 days, with 10 days in jail). You’ll be on probation during this period.
  • Your license will be suspended for one to five years
  • You may regain limited driving privileges after 45 days
  • You will be required to use restricted license plates, otherwise known as “Party Plates”
  • The judge will require that an ignition interlock system be installed in your vehicle
  • You’ll have to get an alcohol assessment and complete any recommended treatment or education programs
This is a misdemeanor and carries the following penalties:

  • You will be required to spend a minimum of 30 days in jail
  • The maximum penalty your judge may impose is one year in jail
  • You’ll be fined between $850 and $2,750 ($550 – $2,500 in Columbus)
  • If the car you were driving is registered to you, you will be ordered to turn it over to the state
  • You may be ordered to serve part of your jail sentence under house arrest and/or with a SCRAM bracelet (55 days, with 15 days in jail). You’ll be on probation during this period.
  • Your license will be suspended for two to 10 years
  • You may regain limited driving privileges after 180 days
  • You will be required to use restricted license plates, otherwise known as “Party Plates”
  • The judge will require that an ignition interlock system be installed in your vehicle
  • You’ll have to complete an alcohol/drug addiction program
This is a misdemeanor and carries the following penalties:

  • You will be required to spend a minimum of 10 days in jail
  • The maximum penalty your judge may impose is six months in jail
  • You’ll be fined between $850 and $2,750 ($550 – $2,500 in Columbus)
  • You may be ordered to serve part of your jail sentence under house arrest and/or with a SCRAM bracelet (110 days, with 30 days in jail). You’ll be on probation during this period.
  • If the car you were driving is registered to you, you will be ordered to turn it over to the state
  • Your license will be suspended for two to 10 years
  • You may regain limited driving privileges after 180 days
  • You will be required to use restricted license plates, otherwise known as “Party Plates”
  • The judge will require that an ignition interlock system be installed in your vehicle
  • You’ll have to complete an alcohol/drug addiction program
This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:

    • You will be required to spend a minimum of 60 days in jail or prison
    • The maximum penalty your judge may impose is one year in jail or 30 months in prison
    • You’ll be fined between $1,350 and $10,500 ($800 – $10,000 in Columbus)
    • If the car you were driving is registered to you, you will be ordered to turn it over to the state
    • Your license will be suspended for three years to life

      • You may regain limited driving privileges after three years
  • You will be required to use restricted license plates, otherwise known as “Party Plates”
  • The judge will require that an ignition interlock system be installed in your vehicle
  • You’ll have to participate in an alcohol and drug addiction program
This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:

    • You will be required to spend a minimum of 120 days in jail or six months in prison
    • The maximum penalty your judge may impose is one year in jail or 30 months in prison
    • You’ll be fined between $1,350 and $10,500 ($800 – $10,000 in Columbus)
    • If the car you were driving is registered to you, you will be ordered to turn it over to the state
    • Your license will be suspended for three years to life

      • You may regain limited driving privileges after three years
  • You will be required to use restricted license plates, otherwise known as “Party Plates”
  • The judge will require that an ignition interlock system be installed in your vehicle
  • You’ll have to participate in an alcohol and drug addiction program
This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:

    • You will be required to spend a minimum of 60 days in prison
    • The maximum penalty your judge may impose is one year in prison
    • You’ll be fined between $1,350 and $10,500 ($800 – $10,000 in Columbus)
    • If the car you were driving is registered to you, you will be ordered to turn it over to the state
    • Your license will be suspended for three years to life

      • You may regain limited driving privileges after three years
  • You will be required to use restricted license plates, otherwise known as “Party Plates”
  • The judge will require that an ignition interlock system be installed in your vehicle
  • You’ll have to participate in an alcohol and drug addiction program
This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:

    • You will be required to spend a minimum of 120 days in prison
    • The maximum penalty your judge may impose is one year in prison
    • You’ll be fined between $1,350 and $10,500 ($800 – $10,000 in Columbus)
    • If the car you were driving is registered to you, you will be ordered to turn it over to the state
    • Your license will be suspended for three years to life

      • You may regain limited driving privileges after three years
  • You will be required to use restricted license plates, otherwise known as “Party Plates”
  • The judge will require that an ignition interlock system be installed in your vehicle
  • You’ll have to participate in an alcohol and drug addiction program
This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:

    • You will be required to spend a minimum of one year in prison
    • The maximum penalty your judge may impose is five years in prison
    • You’ll be fined between $1,350 and $10,500 ($800 – $10,000 in Columbus)
    • If the car you were driving is registered to you, you will be ordered to turn it over to the state
    • Your license will be suspended for three years to life

      • You may regain limited driving privileges after three years
  • You will be required to use restricted license plates, otherwise known as “Party Plates”
  • The judge will require that an ignition interlock system be installed in your vehicle
  • You’ll have to participate in an alcohol and drug addiction program

* If the offense was committed in Columbus, then there is no six- or 20-year look back period. Any prior OVI / DUI offense is considered, no matter how long ago it was committed.

To read up on more specifics about DUI / OVI offenses, please refer to the Ohio Code.

If an officer has found that you’ve passed the legal limit for alcohol in the bloodstream, you may be wondering what the exact number is that they use. Note that besides what’s listed below, police can use other means of assessing intoxication level. See the Ohio Code for more.If you are 21 or older, your blood alcohol content must be less than 0.08 (eight tenths of a percent) to be considered under the legal limit. If you are under 21, it must be less than 0.02 (two tenths of a percent).

Looking to find out what qualifies as driving under the influence of drugs (OVI / DUI)? Below you’ll find a breakdown by drug. If you have any doubts as to the accuracy of your reading, don’t hesitate to contact one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys.

For drugs, your level of intoxication is assessed a bit differently. Instead of measuring by a percentage, an officer will gauge the amount of nanograms of a substance in your bloodstream or urine. Read below to find out what the limits are for each drug you can be tested for.

Marijuana

You must have less than 10 nanograms of amphetamine per milliliter in your urine or less than two nanograms of amphetamine in your blood to be considered under the legal limit.

Amphetamine

You must have less than 500 nanograms of amphetamine per milliliter in your urine or less than 100 nanograms of amphetamine in your blood to be considered under the legal limit.

Cocaine

You must have less than 150 nanograms of cocaine per milliliter in your urine or less than 50 nanograms of cocaine in your blood to be considered under the legal limit.

Morphine

You must have less than 10 nanograms of morphine per milliliter in your urine or less than 10 nanograms of morphine in your blood to be considered under the legal limit.

LSD

You must have less than 25 nanograms of LSD per milliliter in your urine or less than 10 nanograms of LSD in your blood to be considered under the legal limit.

Methamphetamine

You must have less than 500 nanograms of methamphetamine per milliliter in your urine or less than 100 nanograms of methamphetamine in your blood to be considered under the legal
limit.

PCP

You must have less than 25 nanograms of PCP per milliliter in your urine or less than 10 nanograms of PCP in your blood to be considered under the legal limit.

Heroin

You must have less than 2,000 nanograms of heroin per milliliter in your urine or less than 50 nanograms of heroin in your blood to be considered under the legal limit.

While a DUI / OVI charge can at times feel overwhelming, the attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates are here for you to help every step of the way. With an experienced, dedicated advocate on your side, you can take control of the outcome of your case. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at  or advice@lawlh.com.



Are you in trouble? Contact us.

With the help of an experienced, competent OVI attorney, you can be assured of understanding all of your legal rights and options and know that your rights will be protected. The criminal defense team at Luftman, Heck & Associates protects rights of people charged with an OVI / DUI on a daily basis and would be honored to do so for you. To contact us, either call or email advice@columbuscriminalattorney.com.

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