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Ohio DUI Laws & Penalties

Ohio DUI laws state that it is unlawful for any person to operate or attempt to drive a motorized vehicle in the state of Ohio while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, intoxicants or any combination thereof with a blood alcohol concentration level of .08% or greater.

It is not necessary for a person who is stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence in Ohio to show the typical signs of impairment one would expect to see in someone who has been consuming alcohol or drugs, just the fact that that person's BAC level is above the legal limit of .08% or greater will get you arrested for DUI in Ohio.

A person can still be arrested and charged with DUI in Ohio even if their BAC level is below the legal limit just by displaying signs of impairment that are consistent with driving under the influence.

Even before an officer stops someone on suspicion of DUI, the officer is already starting to build a case against that individual starting with observing the individual's driving behavior prior to initiating a DUI stop.  The officer is going to be observing whether or not you are swerving within your own lane or whether or not you are swerving over the lane markers.

He will also be looking for other signs like excessively wide turns, how you are maintaining your speed versus the posted speed limit and other various observations.  All of this is going on even before the officer initiates a DUI stop.

When you are stopped the officer is going to start by asking the obvious questions as to whether or not you've been drinking and then the officer will proceed into asking you to perform some field sobriety tests.  It is not required by law that you submit to the field sobriety tests, you have every right to kindly refuse to submit to them.

You are however, required by Ohio's implied consent law to submit to a chemical test.  If you refuse to submit to a chemical test the arresting officer must inform you of the penalties for a test refusal and then ask you a second time if you will submit to a chemical test.

Every driver who holds a Ohio driver's license has agreed to the state's implied consent law when they initially accepted their Ohio driver's license.  Basically the implied consent law says that if you are stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence you shall submit to a chemical test to check for alcohol, drugs or intoxicants in your body.

You only have 5 days from the date of your arrest to request an administrative license suspension hearing with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to challenge the BMV's suspension of your driver's license.  Administrative hearings can be quite intimidating without an Ohio DUI lawyer on your side who knows the ALS hearing process.

The scope of the ALS hearing will be to determine if the arresting officer had probable cause to arrest you, did the officer request that you submit to a chemical test and if you refused the chemical test did the officer inform you of the penalties for refusal, and the last item that will be covered will be whether or not you refused or submitted and fail the chemical test.

An experienced Ohio DUI lawyer will charge around $400 - $500 to represent you at your administrative hearing.  If you are successful at your administrative hearing your license will be returned to you.  If the BMV rules against you, the suspension of your license will stand, but you may be eligible for an occupational license after the first 30 days of your suspension period has passed.

Ohio First Offense DUI

An Ohio first offense DUI conviction carries the following penalties:

Jail time:  For a first time offense conviction you will be facing a minimum of 3 consecutive days in jail or in lieu of jail time the court may order you to attend a 72-hour driver intervention program.

Fines:  The minimum fine for a first offense conviction is $250 up to the maximum of $1,000 plus court costs.

License Suspension:  If you refused to submit to a chemical test your license will be suspended for 1-year.  You may be eligible for a occupational license following a first offense test refusal after the first 30 days of your suspension have lapsed.

If you are a first time offender and you submitted to a chemical test you may be eligible for an occupational license after 15 days of your suspension period has passed.

The court, acting independently of the BMV may also suspend your license for a minimum of 6-months up to a maximum of 3-years.

Before the Ohio BMV will reinstate your license following your suspension period or issue you a occupational license you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Ohio SR22 insurance policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.  You will also have to pay a reinstatement fee to the Ohio BMV.

Ohio Second Offense DUI

An Ohio second offense DUI conviction is considered a second offense if it occurs within 6-years of a previous offense conviction and carries the following penalties:

Jail time:  For a second time offense conviction you will be facing a minimum of 10 days in jail up to maximum of 180 days.  The court may reduce the minimum jail sentence to 5 days plus an additional minimum of 18 days of electronically monitored house arrest up to 6 months maximum.

Fines:  The minimum fine for a second offense conviction is $350 up to the maximum of $1,500 plus court costs.

License Suspension:  If you refused to submit to a chemical test your license will be suspended for up to 2-years.  You may be eligible for a occupational license following a second offense test refusal after the first 90 days of your suspension has passed if you had a previous conviction within the past 6-years with a test refusal.

If you are a second time offender and you submitted to a chemical test you may be eligible for an occupational license after 30 days of your suspension period has passed as long as you have not had more than one previous conviction within the past 6-year period.

The court, acting independently of the BMV may also suspend your license for a minimum of 1-year up to a maximum of 5-years.  The court may also require you to attend a driver's intervention program.

Before the Ohio BMV will reinstate your license following your suspension period or issue you a occupational license you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Ohio SR22 insurance policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.  You will also have to pay a reinstatement fee to the Ohio BMV.

Vehicle Immobilization:  Your vehicle will be immobilized and your plates will be impounded for 90 days.

Ohio Third Offense DUI

An Ohio third offense DUI conviction is considered a third offense if it occurs within 6-years of two previous offense convictions and carries the following penalties:

Jail time:  For a third time offense conviction you will be facing a minimum of 30 days in jail up to maximum of 1-year.  The court may reduce the minimum jail sentence to 15 days plus an additional minimum of 55 consecutive days of electronically monitored house arrest up to 1-year maximum.

Fines:  The minimum fine for a third offense conviction is $550 up to the maximum of $2,500 plus court costs.

License Suspension:  If you refused to submit to a chemical test your license will be suspended for up to 3-years.  A person convicted of a third offense within a 7-year period will not be eligible for an occupational license. You will have to wait until your suspension period is over before your license is reinstated.

If you are a third time offender and you submitted to a chemical test your license will be suspended for up to 2-years and you will not be eligible for an occupational license.  You will have to wait until your suspension period is over before your license is reinstated.

The court, acting independently of the BMV may also suspend your license for a minimum of 1-year up to a maximum of 10-years.

Before the Ohio BMV will reinstate your license following your suspension period you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Ohio SR22 policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.  You will also have to pay a reinstatement fee to the Ohio BMV.

Vehicle Immobilization:  Your vehicle will be immobilized and your plates will be impounded for 180 days.

Alcohol Treatment:  You will be required to attend a state approved alcohol and drug treatment program.  The cost of the program will be at your expense.

Ohio Fourth or Subsequent Offense DUI

An Ohio fourth or subsequent offense DUI conviction is a Motor Vehicle Related Felony offense and carries the following penalties:

Jail time:  For a fourth or subsequent time offense conviction you will be facing a minimum of 60 days in jail up to maximum of 1-year.

Fines:  The minimum fine for a fourth or subsequent offense conviction is $800 up to the maximum of $10,000 plus court costs.

License Suspension:  If you refused to submit to a chemical test your license will be suspended for up to 5-years.  A person convicted of a third offense or more within a 7-year period will not be eligible for an occupational license.  You will have to wait until your suspension period is over before your license is reinstated.

If you are a fourth or subsequent time offender and you submitted to a chemical test your license will be suspended for up to 3-years and you will not be eligible for an occupational license.  You will have to wait until your suspension period is over before your license is reinstated.

The court, acting independently of the BMV may also suspend your license for a minimum of 3-year up to a maximum of a permanent license revocation.

Before the Ohio BMV will reinstate your license following your suspension period you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Ohio SR-22 insurance policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.  You will also have to pay a reinstatement fee to the Ohio BMV.

Vehicle Forfeiture:  The court will impose a mandatory vehicle forfeiture for a fourth or subsequent offense conviction.

Alcohol Treatment:  You will be required to attend a state approved alcohol and drug treatment program.  The cost of the program will be at your expense.

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Ohio CDL OVI/DUI Laws

A person operating a commercial motor vehicle in the state of Ohio while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or an intoxicant with a blood alcohol concentration of .04% or greater or failing to submit to a chemical test is in violation of the state's laws regarding CDL's and will be arrested for OVI/DUI and your CDL will be revoked for a period of 1-year following a first offense violation.  A second CDL OVI/DUI offense will result in your CDL being revoked for life.

If you were carrying hazardous materials at the time, your CDL will be revoked for 3-years. A second offense violation while carrying hazardous materials will result in a permanent CDL revocation, you will never be able to drive or operate a CMV again.  A CMV operator stopped and found to have any measurable amount of alcohol less than .04% in their system will be issued an "out-of-service" notice and will not be allowed to drive for the next 24-hours.

Ohio OVI/DUI Under 21 Years of Age

A first offense conviction for someone under the age of 21 who is arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence is 0 - 30 days in jail, $0 - $250 fine, your license will be suspended for a minimum of 90 days up to a maximum of 2-years and you will not be eligible for a temporary driving permit for the first 60 days of your suspension.

A second offense conviction for someone under the age of 21 who is arrested for OVI or DUI is 0 - 30 days in jail, $0 - $250 fine, your license will be suspended for a minimum of 1-year up to 5-years and you will not be eligible for a temporary permit for the first 60 days of your suspension.

You will also be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of an Ohio SR-22 insurance policy before the BMV will reinstate your license or issue you a temporary driving permit..

Ohio SR22 Requirements

Before the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles will reinstate your license following your revocation period, they will require you to file an SR22 form with them before issuing you a new license. You will be required to carry your SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years.

At anytime during this 3-year period if there is a lapse in your Ohio SR22 insurance coverage, your insurance provider is obligated by law to immediately inform the Ohio BMV of the lapse.  If a lapse in coverage occurs, the Ohio BMV will immediately revoke your license and you will be required to re-file an SR22 form with the BMV before they will issue you another license.

Since you are going to have to have your SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years, it is important to find the cheapest policy you can before choosing one.  DUI Process has partnered with the largest and most trusted SR22 insurance provider in the state of Ohio and has worked out a special discount only available here for our website visitors.

You won't be able to find a SR22 insurance policy in Ohio for any less. Type in your zip code below so we can provide you with the cheapest rates in your area.

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Other Ohio DUI Resources

  • Ohio First Offense DUI - First offense information including penalties, fines, potential jail time, license suspension, DUI classes, and much more.

  • Ohio SR22 Insurance Filing - We have compiled everything you need to know about Nevada's SR22 insurance and filing requirements including important addresses, phone numbers, etc.

  • Ohio DUI Classes - We offer a complete listing of state approved DUI classes listed by County.

  • Ohio Bail Bondsmen - Comprehensive list of Ohio bail bond agents including address, phone, website, etc.

  • Ohio DUI Courts - Comprehensive list of Ohio's criminal courts listed by County.

  • Jails in Ohio - Comprehensive list of Ohio's jails and contact information.