The legal term for driving under the influence in Ohio is “operating a vehicle impaired,” or OVI. You may face this type of criminal charge if an officer pulls you over and subsequently arrests you.

The officer who arrests you will take your driver’s license at that time, and even if the prosecutor drops your charges, you will still have to pay the fees and administrative costs associated with reinstating your license. If this type of criminal charge leads to a conviction, you could face license suspension, jail time and fines. Garfield Heights Municipal Courts explains the OVI laws and penalties in Ohio.

Low test OVI

Your blood alcohol content makes a difference in the level of penalties you may face. If your BAC is between 0.08% and 0.17% and it is your first offense, the charge may be a low tier OVI. A judge may order you to spend at least three days but no more than six months in jail, with the potential to serve your time in a court-approved program for driver alcohol intervention. The judge may also sentence you to five years probation.

You may have to pay fines between $375 and $1,075, and you will probably lose your license for six months to three years. In some cases, drivers qualify to receive a limited license.

High test OVI

If your BAC is above 0.17%, the fines are the same as the low tier OVI, but your conviction will result in at least six days in jail, with the potential for as long as six months. Once you can drive again, the state requires you to place a bright yellow license plate on your vehicle indicating that an OVI conviction has limited your driving privileges. You will probably also have to pay to have an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

Breath test refusal

You gave implied consent to take a breath test when you began driving on the Ohio roadways. Refusing to comply with an officer’s request to administer the test results in a license suspension of one year. After 30 days, you may apply for a restricted license, which is twice as long as the waiting period if you do not refuse and the officer arrests you for OVI.

This general overview may give you an idea of what to expect if you face OVI charges. However, it should not be interpreted as legal advice.