Explaining OVI in Ohio: Understanding the Offense and Its Consequences

A man being searched by police officers
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In Ohio, drunk driving charges are given different acronyms: DUI, DWI, OMVI, and OVI all mean essentially the same thing. If you are charged with any of them, you are being penalized for driving or operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

What is an OVI? OVI stands for ‘operating a vehicle impaired’ and you’ll face serious consequences if you are convicted. It’s important to note that Ohio considers both motorized and motorless vehicles in these charges. This means that drivers of cars and bicyclists are subject to OVI charges if they are stopped by the police.

Another important consideration is that anyone who is convicted of OVI charges will endure the consequences forever. Ohio does not permit expungements for these charges.

Consequences of an OVI Conviction

In Ohio, if you have a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher or are impaired due to drugs, you can be arrested for OVI. Drugs include illegal and legally prescribed drugs.

If you are convicted of a first offense, you will need to pay monetary fines. You will also need to serve a minimum mandatory 72 hours in jail but this can be expanded to 6 months behind bars. Your driver’s license will be suspended immediately and may remain that way for up to 3 years.

You will also be required to participate in a court-ordered driver safety and substance abuse program and do community service. These may be the legal consequences that you will face if you are convicted on OVI charges. However, a conviction can also impact other areas of your life.

Other Consequences of an OVI Conviction

If you are convicted of the charges, you will need to fulfill the obligations of your sentence. Once they are complete, you may think your life will go back to normal, but that’s hardly the case. You will face the consequences of this conviction for many years to come.

You might find that potential employers, colleges, and the military reject your applications once they run a background check. Depending on your profession, you could lose your professional license and your job.

If you are in divorce proceedings, the conviction could impact how the courts view you as a suitable parent. You may lose your rights to custody because of your OVI conviction as the judge may find it is in your child’s best interests to reside with the other parent.

OVI convictions also make it much more difficult to get car insurance. Any auto insurer will consider you a high risk. As such, they’ll likely add premiums that are sky-high. They may even drop you from their coverage completely. A conviction can also increase your premiums for health or life insurance when you attempt to renew your policies.

What to Do When You’re Arrested For OVI Charges

If you have been arrested for OVI, you should not wait another minute to contact a criminal defense attorney. You should fully understand your legal rights and get a strong defense to help you avoid the consequences. 


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