What Are OVI Laws in Ohio? Heres Everything You Need to Know
As you may already know, Ohio has strict laws for operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) of alcohol or drugs. OVI laws in Ohio have an enormous impact on drivers across the state. From hefty fines to jail time, these laws affect drivers of all ages and walks of life and it’s important to be aware of the rules that apply to you. So, what are Ohio’s OVI laws? Here’s everything you need to know.
First off, it’s important to understand the legal limits of OVI in Ohio. In this state, drivers who are 21 years old and up are allowed a maximum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08%, with lower limits in place for commercial drivers and drivers under the age of 21, who may not register a BAC of more than .02%. If you register a higher BAC than the legal limit or refuse to take a chemical test at all you may be charged with OVI.
And then there are the penalties for OVI conviction. Depending on whether you are considered a ‘first-time offender’, you may be facing a mandatory minimum of 3 days of jail or house arrest, the suspension of your license for 1 year, a hefty fine of up to $10,000, and/or a mandated substance abuse program. Other factors, such as the severity of your BAC or whether your license was previously suspended or revoked, can increase the severity of your penalties.
But, there are other ramifications of OVI beyond the legal ones. For instance, having an OVI on your record can make it harder to get or keep car insurance and, in some cases, employers may look askance at hiring someone who has had an OVI conviction. This is why it’s so important to know your rights and the rights of those who might be accused of OVI.
Fortunately, Ohio allows drivers who are accused of OVI to fight for their freedom whether that’s by contesting the police results, or by negotiating for a lesser charge or penalty. This means that even if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of OVI, you still have ways of defending yourself and preserving your freedoms.
Now, let’s talk about the specifics of OVI law in Ohio. The legal term for OVI in Ohio is Operating a Vehicle after Imbibing (OVI). This means that a person has either consumed alcohol or taken drugs legal or illegal to the point that their judgment or driving ability is impaired. When the Ohio police determine that someone is impaired, they will typically administer field sobriety tests and, if necessary, a chemical test to measure the driver’s blood alcohol content.
It’s also important to note that Ohio is an ‘implied consent’ state. This means that, when you are issued a driver’s license in Ohio, you impliedly give the police permission to request a chemical test from you and if you refuse, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for a period of 1 year. After your license has been suspended, you will be required to provide proof of insurance and pay a reinstatement fee before you can drive again.
Generally, the police in Ohio take OVI charges very seriously and will enforce the law strictly. This means that if you’re in a situation where you think you may be impaired, it’s best to get a designated driver or find alternate means of transportation home. And, if you do find yourself charged with OVI, it’s critical to get the help of an experienced defense attorney who is familiar with Ohio’s OVI laws.
Now that you have a good overview of Ohio’s OVI laws, it is important to consider the various technicalities that might apply to your case. What, for example, constitutes a breathalyzer test? How reliable are breathalyzer results? What options do you have if you have previously been charged with OVI? In Part 2 of this series, we will provide answers to these questions and more.
Knowing the criteria laid out by Ohio’s legal system for OVI is essential for navigating the law. In Part 3 of this series, we will delve into the details of the legal criteria for OVI, such as: when can police administer breathalyzer tests, how is ‘operating a vehicle’ defined, and what are the potential consequences for refusing a chemical test?
In Part 4, OVI laws will be examined from a different angle. Specifically, we will examine the personal impact of having an OVI on your record: How will an OVI affect your insurance, your driver’s license, and your professional life? What if your spouse is arrested for OVI? Are there any support systems available to help you cope with the effects of an OVI conviction?
Being aware of the state’s OVI laws is critical for everyone in Ohio, regardless of age or circumstances. In Part 5, we will consider OVI laws from the perspective of young people and families. What should teenagers know about OVI laws in Ohio? Are there any special circumstances surrounding OVI convictions for minors or for drivers under the age of 21? Are there any specific steps that parents can take to ensure their children’s safety?
Last but not least, Part 6 will focus on the specifics of an OVI conviction in Ohio. What kind of evidence will be considered in an OVI trial? Are there any mitigating circumstances that can be used to argue for a lower sentence or lighter fines for an OVI charge? Can an attorney help you get a lesser charge?
Clearly, Ohio’s OVI laws are complex and having a full understanding of them is crucial for any driver. With so much at stake, it’s important to make sure that you know your rights and have a clear picture of the state’s OVI laws. We hope that this series will provide you with the information you need to stay safe and abide by the law.