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In Ohio, if a person is arrested for operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI), he or she could face harsh penalties and the possibility of going to jail if convicted. Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is a criminal offense in Ohio. The penalties and jail time will depend on the following:
  • Whether the driver takes a breath, urine, or blood test;
  • Whether the results of the test are below, at, or above the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) legal limit of .08%;
  • Whether it is a first-time OVI offense;
  • Whether the driver has prior OVI convictions; and
  • Whether the person is over the legal drinking age of 21.

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If a driver’s BAC level is between .08% to .17%, the state of Ohio considers that range “low.” If, however, a person’s BAC level is .17% or above, it is considered “high.” A “high” BAC level carries more serious penalties and consequences compared to someone who blows a “low” BAC level. When it comes to OVIs, the BAC level’s range will determine the penalties and length of jail time. No matter if a person blows at or above a BAC of .08% or .17%, the charge is deemed a first degree misdemeanor.

The penalties for a first-time OVI offense with a BAC level between .08% to .17% include a minimum of three days in jail with a maximum of six months in jail. The defendant would also have to pay fines between $375 to $1,075. In some cases, you may be able to attend a driving intervention program and install an ignition interlock device in lieu of going to jail.

The penalties for a first-time OVI offense with a BAC level above .17% increases the punishment of jail to a minimum of six days. The maximum sentence is six months. In addition to jail, the fines that must be paid fall between $375 to $1,075.

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