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How Does Ohio Define OVI/DUI Charges?

  • By: Shane Herzner
  • Published: May 23, 2021
Learn how Ohio defines OVI/DUI charges from Shane Herzner of Herzner Law.

In Ohio, Operating a Vehicle while Impaired (OVI) is synonymous with a DUI.

How Does Ohio Define Legal Impairment When It Comes To Operating A Motor Vehicle?

There are two different sections that constitute legal impairment. One is the ‘per se’ section which essentially says that if your blood alcohol level (BAC) is over 0.08% in a breath test, you are deemed to be legally impaired. The other section is the A1A section, and is based on the officer’s opinion after interacting with you. Many times, people are charged with both sections.

Can Someone Refuse To Provide Law Enforcement A Breath Or Blood Test In Ohio In An OVI Stop?


What Are The Consequences of Refusing A Breath Or Blood Test In Ohio?

If it’s a first time OVI, the only difference in consequences is that you’ll have to undergo a 30 day driving suspension before you are eligible for driving privileges again.

If Someone Refuses To Provide A Breath Or Blood Sample, Does That Impact Their OVI Case?

Yes. The refusal will be presented to a judge or jury. However, in Ohio, you are actually arrested before you are offered a breath test, so most of the time, I recommend refusing the test, as there is no way for you to be un-arrested by taking it.

How Often Do People Actually End Up Giving The Breath Test In An OVI Case?

I would estimate approximately 50% of people provide a breath sample.

What Are Some Factors That Could Enhance Or Aggravate An OVI Charge In Ohio?

Prior convictions are the biggest one. In 2017, the law changed the lookback period from 6 to 10 years, so any convictions in the last 10 years would negatively enhance or aggravate a new OVI charge in Ohio. This is why I emphasize the importance of getting the first OVI off your record by fighting it and beating it, or obtaining a reduction in charge.

Another thing that negatively aggravates an OVI charge is a refusal of a chemical test, for which the lookback period is 20 years.

Is There Any Enhancement Related To BAC Or Blood Alcohol Concentration Level In Ohio?

Yes, there is a ‘high tier’ BAC of 0.17%. If you test above this level, your penalties will be more severe.

What Happens If I Am Accompanied By A Minor At The Time Of My OVI Arrest In Ohio?

If you are accompanied by a minor at the time of an OVI arrest, you will be charged with child endangerment, which is a big deal, because it is a criminal charge that can lead to a misdemeanor in the first degree, which is the highest level of misdemeanor in Ohio.

Is OVI A Criminal Charge In Ohio?

Yes. An OVI is considered a criminal traffic charge because it carries mandatory days in jail.

Would An OVI Be Considered To Be A Misdemeanor Or A Felony In Ohio?

A first or a second OVI is classified as a misdemeanor in the first degree. If you were to get a third OVI in 10 years, it would be an unclassified misdemeanor, which means you could receive up to a year in jail. If another party is injured during an accident, you can be charged with a felony.

For more information on OVI/DUI Charges In The State Of Ohio, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (513) 532-5555 today.

Shane Herzner

Shane Herzner is a Experienced DUI/OVI attorney in Cincinnati, OH.
Call For A Free Consultation (513) 532-5555