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OVI and repeat offenders in Ohio: Understanding enhanced penalties

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2024 | Firm News |

The penalties for even a first offense can be severe if you’re charged with operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) in Ohio. On conviction, you’ll have to serve a mandatory minimum of three days of jail and at least $375 in fines. You’ll also have six points assessed to your license towards suspension.

But if an officer arrests you again for OVI, don’t expect to face the same penalties. Enhanced penalties await those who have a history of drunk driving.

Second OVI offense within 10 years

If you face charges for OVI and you have an earlier OVI conviction within the last ten years from the latest offense, your penalties on conviction become more severe. Your latest offense is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by:

  • A mandatory jail term of 10-20 consecutive days
  • Driver’s license suspension for one to seven years
  • Fines of up to $1,625

While a court can order the suspension of your driver’s license, it may grant limited driving privileges. The court may also order the impoundment of your vehicle and its license plates for 90 days.

Third OVI offense within 10 years

The penalties climb once more if you face OVI charges while having a history of two prior convictions within the last 10 years. The offense is still a misdemeanor, but on conviction, the penalties are:

  • A mandatory jail term of 30 days up to a year
  • Driver’s license suspension for two to 12 years
  • Up to $2,750 in fines

In addition, if the vehicle you used during the offense is registered under your name, authorities can seize it.

Additional consequences

Repeat offenders will also face the following penalties on top of the ones described above:

  • A requirement to have an ignition interlock device installed on the vehicle
  • As part of a limited driving privilege restoration, the driver must use restricted license plates identifying them as a repeat OVI offender
  • Mandatory participation in an alcohol or drug addiction program

The penalties for repeat OVI offenses in Ohio are intentionally severe to deter individuals from making the same mistake more than once. If you find yourself facing a repeat OVI charge, it’s imperative to seek legal counsel.

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