In the State of Ohio, it is illegal to operate a vehicle if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. If law enforcement suspects you of drunk driving, they will arrest you and ask you to submit to a blood alcohol test, and you are required by law to comply (you can, however, ask that a qualified person of the choice administer the test to you again.)
If your blood alcohol test is taken within 3 hours of your arrest, and shows that your BAC was 0.08 or higher, you will be charged with an OVI. When you fail a blood alcohol test, the police physically confiscate your driver’s license.
When you are charged with an OVI, you face both administrative (BMV) and criminal processes. Ohio drunk driving law is complex, and you will want to consult with an Ohio OVI lawyer to help you through it. Finding someone who knows the ins and outs of Ohio law will make both processes go much smoother for you.
The Ohio Administrative OVI Process
When you are arrested for an OVI, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for 90 days for a first offense. This is the administrative suspension.
You can request a court hearing to contest this suspension. In order to have the suspension overturned, you must show that:
- The police did not have “reasonable grounds” to arrest you for OVI;
- The police did not ask you to take a blood alcohol test;
- The police did not explain the consequences of failing the blood alcohol test; or
- You did not fail the blood alcohol test.
Your Ohio DUI lawyer can help you with the administrative hearing.
If you do not have a driver’s license and you are arrested for OVI, you will not be able to apply for a driver’s license for a period of time equivalent to the normal suspension. You will also be charged with driving without a license.
In order to get your license reinstated, you must file an SR22 form with the Ohio BMV. You must also pay a reinstatement fee of $475.
Ohio First Offense Criminal OVI Penalties
- If you are convicted of OVI in court, your driver’s license will be criminally suspended for 6 months to 3 years.
- The fine for a first offense OVI is $375.
- You will also be sentenced to at least 72 consecutive hours in jail.
- If you are convicted of driving with a BAC of 0.17 or higher, you will face stricter penalties.
Ohio SR22 Insurance Requirement
If your driver’s license is suspended for a first offense OVI, you will need to purchase Ohio SR22 insurance. SR22 insurance is a high risk insurance that proves to the Ohio BMV that you are insured in the event of a future accident. SR22 insurance can be expensive and you will need to maintain it for 3 years, so you want to find a rate you can live with. You can compare competitive rates by completing our Ohio SR22 Insurance quote form and submitting it.