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First OVI Penalties in Ohio


You may be familiar with the term “driving under the influence” or DUI or “driving while intoxicated” or DWI. DUI and DWI are terms other states use for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both. Here in Ohio, we use the term “operating vehicle under the influence” or OVI instead of DUI or DWI, but it means the same thing.

Ohio’s OVI laws can be found under RC 4511.19(A)(1)(a). Under Ohio law, it’s illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or alcohol and drugs. As far as “drugs” are concerned, this refers to all controlled substances, both lawfully-prescribed medications and illegal drugs used for recreational purposes.

Penalties for Impaired Driving in Ohio

In all states, DUI (OVI) is a priorable offense, which means the penalties get stiffer for each subsequent conviction. For the purposes of this article, however, we’re going to discuss the penalties for a first OVI offense in Ohio.

First OVI Penalties (.08% to .17% Blood Alcohol Level)

  • 1 to 3 years driver’s license suspension
  • Fines ranging from $375-$1,075
  • Up to six months in jail
  • Treatment is optional
  • 6 points on your driving record
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID) required for unlimited driving privileges

If you’re convicted of OVI, do you know how it can impact other aspects of your life? Most commonly, an OVI can impact educational, employment, and housing opportunities. Depending on your current job, an OVI conviction may cause you to lose your job, especially if you’re sentenced to jail or if your job frowns heavily upon OVIs.

“Can an employer fire me because of an OVI?” Since Ohio is an at-will employment state, yes, you can lose your job due to an OVI conviction – it would not be illegal for your employer to fire you based on an OVI arrest or conviction. An OVI can also impact future promotions and job opportunities, as well as your ability to obtain certain professional licenses. Real estate and nursing are two examples where someone can be denied a professional license due to a DUI on their record.

The best way to avoid having an OVI impact your future, not to mention your auto insurance premiums, is to fight your charges and avoid an OVI conviction in the first place.