When a person is driving while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Ohio, they can be arrested for operating a vehicle impaired (OVI). An OVI means the same thing as a DUI, DWI, and OMVI because they all target the same types of behavior. However, these other terms became outdated over time, leaving OVI as the official term for this type of offense in Ohio.
In Ohio, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while impaired. The law is referred to as “OVI”, although it is often used synonymously with “DUI”. Ohio’s impaired driving law is prescribed by Of the 818 traffic fatalities on Ohio highways in a recent year, 391 of them involved a driver who was over the legal limit for alcohol. In 276 of those deaths, the driver had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of more than twice the legal limit.
It’s true, people more commonly recognize other terms for the impaired driving laws. You may have heard people refer to these types of laws or violations as “Driving Under the Influence” (DUI) or “Driving While Intoxicated” (DWI). However, Ohio lawmakers and state prosecutors stopped using these terms somewhere around 1982. After that, Ohio chose to recognize a new term – OMVI. OMVI stood for “Operating a Motor Vehicle Impaired” .
Finally, Ohio then decided that a vehicle need not be motorized for it to present a danger when the operator is under the influence, and so the “M” was removed. This is how the Ohio General Assembly came to adopt the term OVI in 2005.
Although these abbreviations all amount to the same behavior, the differences lie in subtleties of the law – particularly those related to what the prosecutor would have to prove to make their case against the accused. Because OVI stands for Operating a Vehicle Impaired, it asserts that a person need not be driving and that they need not be operating a “motor” vehicle to be found guilty of this offense.
Generally, Ohio provides two standards for operating a vehicle impaired:
(A) driving while under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of the two; and
(B) driving with a Blood Alcohol Level of .08 or greater.
In court, both the chemical test that demonstrates the BAC level and officer testimony about the driver’s performance in field sobriety tests are admissible to establish these standards.
If you are under 21 and are arrested for driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08 or over, the adult prosecution standards apply.
If you are under 21 and are arrested for driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of between .02 and .08, the following penalties apply:
First Offense Underage DUI:
Second Offense Underage DUI:
By driving on Ohio highways, you have given your implied consent to chemical testing for Blood Alcohol Concentration. You can always refuse the testing, but the following penalties will apply in addition to any other criminal penalties:
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