If you, or someone you know, has been arrested for an OVI, it’s important you know exactly what that means. According to Ohio law, OVI stands for Operating a Vehicle Impaired and refers to instances in which the driver of a vehicle is found to be impaired while driving. This generally refers to alcohol or drug consumption, and an OVI arrest will apply if you are found driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher when you are pulled over. It is important to clarify that OVI arrests do not only apply to motor vehicles, it is illegal to operate any vehicle (including bicycles, horse-drawn vehicles, and other types of vehicles) while impaired in Ohio.
What is the Difference Between an OVI Arrest and a DUI Arrest?
A common question asked is: how does an OVI differ from a DUI? In reality, they both refer to the same situation: operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, Ohio law recognizes this crime under the name of OVI, and if you are found driving a vehicle under the influence while in the State of Ohio, you will be charged with an OVI. If this has happened to you, you will need an OVI / DUI lawyer to help navigate your court case and protect your rights.
Types of OVIs
Although the term OVI refers to all cases in which a driver of a vehicle is found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there are different types of OVIs, therefore, different penalties.
This is the first type of OVI offense, it means you are charged with driving under the influence without having consented to get a sobriety test.
OVI Per se
In this case, the vehicle’s driver has consented to get a sobriety test and has tested over the legal limit.
If you are under 21 and are found to be driving a vehicle with a BAC between 0.02% and 0.08%, you may be charged with an underage OVI.
OVI Penalties in Ohio
If you are arrested for an OVI, the penalties will differ depending on the gravity of your situation. If your blood alcohol content was found to be between 0.08% and 0.16%, you will be charged with a standard (low test) OVI. If your BAC was 0.17% or higher, you might be charged with an aggravated (high test) OVI. The penalties for aggravated OVIs are higher than for standard OVIs. Additionally, Ohio law bases penalties on previous convictions. This means that if it’s a first-time offense, the penalties will be lower than if it’s a second or third offense. Penalties may include jail time, fines, and license suspension.
What to Do if Charged With an OVI?
If you, or someone you know, are facing an OVI arrest, it’s imperative you seek help from a DUI / OVI attorney as soon as possible. The penalties for driving impaired are severe and it will be important to have a team of experienced professionals on your side to ensure your rights are protected and you receive the lowest penalties possible. If you are in need of an OVI lawyer, The Martinez Firm has years of experience with OVI arrest cases, will work tirelessly to defend your rights and interests, and will stand by your side every step of the way.