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First Offense Ohio OVI / DUI Penalties

first offense DUI OVI Columbus Ohio

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    WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR FIRST DUI / OVI IN OHIO?

    Ohio law uses the term “OVI” for the charge of operating a vehicle under the influence.  An OVI is the same as a DUI (driving under the influence).  Under Ohio law, a first offense OVI conviction can mean mandatory jail time, fines, and a license suspension for up to three years. The potential penalties for a first offense OVI are as follows:

     First Offense "Low Test" First Offense "High Test"First Offense Refusal
    JailMinimum: 3 days
    Maximum: 6 months
    If the judge grants unlimited driving privileges with an ignition interlock device, any ordered jail time is suspended.
    Minimum: 6 days
    Maximum: 6 months
    If the judge grants unlimited driving privileges with an ignition interlock device, any ordered jail time is suspended.
    Minimum: 3 days
    Maximum: 6 months
    If the judge grants unlimited driving privileges with an ignition interlock device, any ordered jail time is suspended.
    FinesMinimum: $375
    Maximum: $1075
    Minimum: $375
    Maximum: $1075
    Minimum: $375
    Maximum: $1075
    License SuspensionMinimum: 1 year
    Maximum: 3 years
    Minimum: 1 year
    Maximum: 3 years
    1 year Administrative License Suspension; Court suspension 1 to 3 years.
    Driving PrivilegesNot eligible for driving privileges until 15 days from the date of the offense (ALS suspension). Not eligible for driving privileges until 15 days from the date of the offense (ALS suspension)Not eligible for driving privileges until 30 days from the date of the offense (ALS suspension).
    Yellow PlatesNot mandatoryMandatoryNot mandatory
    Ignition InterlockRequired with unlimited driving privilegesRequired with unlimited driving privilegesRequired with unlimited driving privileges

    Whether you fall into the “high test” or “low test” category will depend on the results of your breath, blood or urine test.

    WHAT IS "LOW TEST" OVI?

    A “low test” OVI is considered any OVI with a chemical test result as follows:

    Type of Chemical TestResult
    Breath Test.169 or below
    Urine Test.237 or below
    Whole Blood.169 or below
    Blood Serum or Plasma.203 or below

    WHAT IS A "HIGH TEST" OVI?

    A “high test” OVI is any result above the thresholds described above. Click here for more information about first time “high test” OVI penalties. The penalties below apply regardless of whether the offender is an Ohio citizen or an out of state driver.

    Mandatory Minimum Penalties for First Time Ohio OVI / DUI (“Low Test”)

    Ohio law sets the statutory minimums and maximums for a first time “low test” Ohio DUI / OVI conviction. These mandatory minimum penalties include:

    • Minimum three days in jail. In some cases, the judge will permit the offender to complete these mandatory three days in a certified driver intervention program. If you opt for unlimited driving privileges with an ignition interlock device, any ordered jail time is suspended.
    • One year license suspension. This is the minimum license suspension required by Ohio law for an first time OVI conviction. The judge will often grant limited driving privileges during this period of suspension for driving to work and/or school. If you request and the judge grants unlimited driving privileges with an ignition interlock, the suspension may be cut in half (i.e. one year suspension could be reduced to six months).
    • $375 fine. This is the minimum fine required under Ohio law for a first time OVI / DUI conviction. Judges will often order higher fines than this minimum.

    Maximum Penalties for First Time Ohio OVI / DUI (“Low Test”)

    • Maximum six months in jail. The judge has authority under the Ohio OVI statute to order even a first time OVI offender to serve six months in jail. It is rare, however, for this maximum sentence to be imposed upon a first time offender. If you request and the judge grants unlimited driving privileges with an ignition interlock device, any ordered jail time is suspended.
    • Three year license suspension. The judge has authority to suspend the offender’s license for up to three years. The judge may grant limited driving privileges for work and school or other essential needs. If you opt for unlimited driving privileges with an ignition interlock, the suspension may be cut in half (i.e. three year suspension could be reduced to 1.5 years).
    • $1,075 Fine. This is the maximum fine permitted under the Ohio OVI statute for a first time DUI offender.

    If you have a “high test” OVI, the potential penalties described above will be increased. Click here for more information about “high test” OVI penalties for first time offenders. If this is your First DUI in Ohio, call an Ohio DUI Attorney as soon as possible. Our attorneys are available for free telephone consultations 7 days a week. Explore your options with an Ohio OVI attorney toward protecting your right to drive, your criminal record, and your freedom.