In Ohio, the criminal offense of drunk driving is known as operating a vehicle under the influence.

An individual may face OVI charges for operating a vehicle under the following circumstances:

  • With a BAC of at least 0.08%
  • With a urine alcohol concentration of at least 0.110%
  • With a certain detectable amount of cocaine, heroin, amphetamine, marijuana, LSD, PCP or methamphetamine in the body
  • While under the influence of drugs, alcohol or a mixture

Essentially, any amount of driving impairment due to alcohol or drugs may cause someone to get an OVI conviction.

Administrative consequences

One unique aspect of an OVI in comparison to other offenses is the fact that some penalties go into effect before a conviction. When the police lawfully arrest a driver for OVI, there may be administrative punishments:

  • License suspension – If the police arrest someone for an OVI with evidence of impairment or test refusal, the officer will confiscate the driver’s license and the BMV will suspend it.
  • BAC of at least 0.08% – In the case that a driver exceeds the legal limit, the BMV will suspend the driver’s license for up to three years. A restricted license may be available after 15 days.
  • Chemical test refusal – When a driver refuses to submit to a chemical test, he or she will receive a license suspension for one year. A restricted license may be available after 30 days.

The judge may decide to grant driving privileges under a restricted license. Limitations may involve driving hours, special license plates or installation of an ignition interlock device.

Criminal repercussions

The penalties for a first-offense OVI vary, but in cases with BACs less than 0.17%, the punishments may include the following:

  • At least three days of jail time
  • Attendance in a driving intervention program
  • Fines between $375 and $1,075
  • License suspension between one and three years
  • Five years of probation

With higher BAC levels, jail time increases and offender license plates may be a requirement.