DUI Laws in Ohio

DUI Laws in Ohio

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In the state of Ohio, driving under the influence of alcohol or other narcotic substance is considered to be a criminal offence. In most of the states across the US such type of violation would be termed as a DUI/DWI (Driving under Influence/Driving a vehicle impaired) however in Ohio, such a violation is listed as OVI i.e Operating a vehicle impaired. 

In Ohio, you can be lawfully charged with a OVI violation if you are found guilty of the following: 

  • Operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .8% or more.
  • Operating a motor vehicle with a certain concentration of  narcotics such as amphetamine, cocaine, heroin, LSD, marijuana, methamphetamine, or PCP in the body.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol or the combination of both the products.

When is a driver considered to be legally drunk in Ohio

A driver is considered to be legally drunk in Ohio under the follow circumstances: 

  • Drivers operating a commercial vehicle: BAC is .4% or more.
  • Drivers under the age of 21: BAC is .2% or more
  • Non-Commercial drivers: BAC is .8% or more
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What happens when you get convicted for a DUI/DWI in Ohio?

Below are some of the consequences one could face in Ohio after being convicted of a DUI/DWI:

Driver’s License Suspension:

The most straightforward consequence of a DUI charge is that your driver’s license will be suspended for a certain period of time even though you haven’t been convicted–unless you take immediate legal action

Jail Sentence:

The jail sentence for a DUI violation in Ohio will depend on various factors such as the seriousness of the offence committed, number of previous violations and other factors. As a first time DUI offender, the driver will face a minimum jail time of 10-365 days in jail.

Financial consequences:

The most excruciating part of a DUI charge is the exorbitant amount of penalties and fines one has to pay in accordance with the law. There are several other charges such as paying for a DUI school course or an alcohol treatment program which is mandatory for certain offenders.

Additionally, the car you drove while being arrested might also be impounded by the authorities and you may also be required to pay a certain amount for each day it stays in the impound lot. License reinstatement comes with its own fee. And most importantly, having a DUI charge on your driving record will raise the rates of your auto insurance premium. 

Ohio OVI Penalties 

The penalties for a OVI offence in the state of Ohio are as follows: 

Offence Count 

1st Offence

2nd Offence 

3rd Offence


$375 to $1,075

$525 to $1,625

$850 to $2,750

License Suspension

1-3 years 

1-7 years 

2-12 years 


3-180 days 

10-180 days 

30-365 days


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Additional Ohio DUI Laws: 

The following are the different types of DUI laws that aid in convicting individuals for different types of violations that he/she might commit while driving under the influence in the Ohio: 

Per Se Law in Ohio

Across the US, states including Ohio have a BAC limit of .8% which is legally set up. ‘Per Se’ means by itself i.e police or the authorities do not require additional evidence apart from your BAC to charge you with an OVI violation. 

An individual can be convicted of a  Per Se’ in Ohio under OVI laws if found operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .8% or more. It must also be noted that a driver can be convicted of a Per se alcohol OVI in Ohio without proof of actual impairment.

Aggravated OVI Offences in Ohio

In the state of Ohio, driving a vehicle with a BAC of at least .17% is considered an “aggravated” OVI. Drivers who are convicted of aggravated OVI face increased jail time as compared to standard OVI violations. 

OVI charges for underage drivers in Ohio:

Individuals under the age of 21 can get convicted under the state’s OVI laws when caught driving with a BAC of .2% but not more than .8%. They are more likely to be charged with fourth degree misdemeanour which carries a maximum of 30 days in jail, up to $250 in fines, and a three-month to two-year license suspension.

Implied Consent Law in Ohio:

Ohio’s impaired consent law states that individuals arrested for operating or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while impaired are deemed to have consented to a test of their blood/breath/urine to determine the presence of alcohol or drugs.

Offence Count

1st Offence

2nd Offence

3rd Offence

Test Failure

3 months

1 year

2 years 

Test Refusal 

1 year 

2 years 

3 years 


OVI Sentencing Alternatives in Ohio

Violators can be ordered to participate in a program called “Community Control Sanction” which can aid in reducing the normal penalties of an OVI conviction. Along with other requirements such as:  jail sentence, house arrest, and electronic alcohol monitoring, authorities can direct offenders to complete a substance abuse treatment program.

Ohio Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program 

Violators of the state’s DUI law have an option to undergo the Drug and alcohol treatment program as part of the OVI sentencing to help prevent future violations. Although it is optional for first time offenders, second and third time offenders have to undergo any treatment the assessment indicates is appropriate.

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SR22 Insurance in Ohio

In Ohio, if your license is suspended for any moving violations or you are convicted of a more serious driving-related offence then The Ohio DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) will likely need you to obtain an SR-22 from a licensed auto insurance company to get your license reinstated.

Ohio SR22 is a legal requirement when a driver has a OVI conviction, an at-fault collision, a driving-without-insurance citation, accumulating too many license points, or a citation for driving with a suspended license. 


The most suitable way to avoid getting charged with  an OVI violation or having to pay hefty OVI fines is to abstain yourself from driving when you are under the influence of alcohol. But that might not necessarily happen as mistakes are bound to take place – statistics have shown 25,000 Ohio drivers per year get charged with an OVI violation on average.

We at SR22InsuranceNow aim to provide you with the most accurate and up to date information regarding Ohio DUI laws so that you can take the right decision if a certain situation arises.

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