Operating a vehicle impaired, or OVI, results in mandatory jail time and administrative penalties in Ohio. If a law enforcement officer arrests you for this crime, he or she will take your license and you will be unable to drive until the court settles your case.

These are the answers to the most common questions about Ohio OVI.

What is the legal blood alcohol limit in Ohio?

You will receive an OVI charge if a breath test reveals blood alcohol content above 0.08%. Penalties for a first offense include:

  • At least three days to six months in jail
  • Alcohol intervention education if appropriate
  • Fines of $375 to $1,075
  • License suspension of six months to three years
  • Up to five years probation

If you get a DUI in another state, you will still be subject to license suspension in Ohio.

What is a high-tier OVI?

Ohio has instituted enhanced penalties for drivers who operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.17% or higher. This crime carries these legal consequences (in addition to those for the less severe offense):

  • At least six days to six months in jail
  • Yellow OVI limited license plate to designate status
  • Ignition interlock device at your own expense

What if I refuse to take a breath test?

Ohio drivers must abide by implied consent laws. This means that if you travel in the state as a motorist, you consent by this action to a breath test from a law enforcement officer. If you refuse, you receive a one-year license suspension and must serve at least 30 days before applying for a restricted license.

What happens with multiple OWI convictions?

In addition to increased penalties and jail time, subsequent convictions may require completion of a drug and alcohol treatment program at your own expense. After finishing this type of treatment, you must remain sober for at least six months before becoming eligible for a reinstated driver’s license.

Driving in Ohio under the influence of drugs or alcohol is risky. You can avoid an OWI charge by abstaining when you plan to get behind the wheel.