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OVI in Ohio

OVI, DUI, DWI – Regardless of what you call it, operating a vehicle while intoxicated in Ohio is a serious offense. It is important to understand Ohio’s laws regarding OVI’s when facing charges. An OVI can be a first degree misdemeanor or a felony charge depending on previous convictions, prior refusals, and blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

OVIA common misconception is that an OVI is only for “drunk” drivers. A driver can be charged with an OVI after using illegal substances and even prescription drugs properly prescribed to them if they have caused to driver to be “impaired.” It is important to follow a physician’s directions with regard to taking prescriptions and operating a vehicle.

An OVI can be what’s known as an OVI impaired or an OVI per se. An OVI impaired is based upon’s the officer’s observation of the defendant’s driving, smell, appearance, speech, and performance of field sobriety tests. An OVI per se is based upon the driver submitting to an alcohol test and the result being higher than a 0.08 BAC.

Refusing the Test

Once pulled over for a suspected OVI, a driver will be asked to submit to field sobriety tests and usually an alcohol test. Testing methods include a breath test, blood test, or urine test. If a driver refuses to submit to a test, their license is automatically suspended for at least 1 year and possibly longer depending on prior refusals or convictions. This automatic license suspension is called an Administrative License Suspension and is imposed by the BMV. Fighting an Administrative License Suspension for a refusal to submit to a test is a very time sensitive matter and must be addressed by a licensed Ohio attorney immediately.

There are varying consequences for failing or refusing a test. These consequences include the type and length of license suspension, associated costs and fees, and the impact on any subsequent alcohol related offenses.

Currently Ohio law does not permit an OVI to be expunged so a conviction can have serious consequences on insurance, employment, and many other aspects of a person’s life. If you have been charged with an OVI contact a licensed Ohio attorney immediately as many areas of OVI defense are time sensitive.