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What are the penalties for OVI in Ohio?

Operating a vehicle impaired, or OVI, results in mandatory jail time in Ohio for the first and subsequent convictions. Offenders are also subject to license suspension and costly fines. 

Before facing a court date for OVI in Ohio, learn more about the potential penalties that you may receive. 

Low test OVI 

Drivers who have measured blood alcohol content from 0.08% to 0.17% at the time of arrest fall into the category of low tier or low test OVI. Penalties include: 

  • Mandatory license suspension of six months to three years 
  • Fines of $375 to $1,075 
  • Mandatory minimum of three days and up to six months in jail 
  • Possible probation for five years 

High test OVI 

Ohio mandates higher penalties when a driver receives an OVI with a measured BAC of higher than 0.17%. This conviction carries: 

  • Mandatory license suspension of six months to three years, with limited OVI license and ignition interlock device requirements after suspension ends 
  • Fines of $375 to $1,075 
  • Mandatory minimum of six days and up to six months in jail 
  • Possible probation for five years 

A second high test offense carries at least 20 days in jail, with a sentence of at least 30 days for a third offense. 

Underage OVI 

A driver younger than 21 will receive an OVI charge with a measured BAC above 0.02%. This misdemeanor charge results in a fine of $250, up to 30 days in jail and license suspension for three months to two years. 

Breath test refusal 

Ohio has implied consent laws for anyone who operates a motor vehicle in the state. This means you have to submit to a breath or blood test if an officer stops you for suspected OVI. This offense carries a minimum one-year license suspension on top of other penalties you receive for OWI. 

Substance abuse assessment and treatment is optional for a first offense, but the court may require this step for subsequent offenses. With this pathway, you can potentially avoid jail time while pursuing treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. 

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