Ohio DUI Penalties

Ohio DUI laws and penalties

Each State within the United States has been given the authority to write their own laws on Driving Under the Influence, or better known as DUI. Within this article we will explore the different laws within the State of Ohio, and their penalties. To begin with, Ohio has what is known as a six year “Lookback Period”. This means that any previously acquired within the past six years is now relevant to the sentencing process you are facing with your current DUI charges. This is also known as a “washout” period. Also, in the State of Ohio, law enforcement primarily uses the term OVI, or Operating a Vehicle under the Influence, to equally mean the same as DUI.

What constitutes a high BAC for a DUI/OVI in Ohio?

  • Under 21: .02%
  •  21 or Older: .08%
  • Commercial: .04%

There is never an acceptable time to drink and drive as your vision, reasoning, along with your mental capacity to make important decisions and judgments are severely hindered and not capable of bouncing back to what you are able to perform without alcohol in your system. Each person is different and their tolerance level for alcohol is severely unpredictable, making it impossible to say how many drinks are “normal” or not. This is what requires law enforcement to perform chemical tests on suspecting DUI/OVI offenders. If you are pulled over and are requested to take a chemical test, Ohio has what is known as an implied consent law. This means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. For refusal to take the chemical test, the penalties are as follows:

  • First Offense: 1 year license suspension
  • Second Offense: 2 year license suspension 
  • Third Offense: 3 year license suspension 

What are the penalties within the Ohio DUI laws?

There are several penalties within the Ohio DUI/OVI laws, and we will explore them in this section. Should you be pulled over and found guilty of Driving Under the Influence of alcohol with the boarders of the State of Ohio, the following penalties are what you will be facing:

Penalty of Jail

  • First Offense: 3 days to 6 months
  • Second Offense: 10 days to 1 year
  • Third Offense: 30 days to 1 year
  • Fourth Offense: 60 days to 1 year

Penalties and Fines

  • First Offense: $250 to $1,000
  • Second Offense: $350 to $1,500
  • Third Offense: $350 to $1,500
  • Fourth Offense: $800 to $10,000

Penalty of License Suspension

  • First Offense: 6 months to 3 years
  • Second Offense: 1 to 5 years
  • Third Offense: 1 to 10 years
  • Fourth Offense: 3 years to permanent

Penalty of Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

  • First Offense: No
  • Second Offense: No
  • Third Offense: Yes
  • Fourth Offense: Yes


It is important to note that laws change, as well as their interpretation an application of them. Due to the fact that there are multiple jurisdictions within a State and each may choose to enforce the law in different ways, it is important to prepare for the unexpected. For this reason, it would be in your best interest to retain the services of a professional and experienced lawyer who is well versed on the DUI/OVI law within the State of Ohio, as well as being capable of giving you the direction you need for your specific case, along with being current on all laws pertaining to DUI.

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