Most arrests for operating vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI) in Ohio are misdemeanors. In certain circumstances, however, an alleged offender could face felony charges for an OVI arrest.

Felony OVI

A felony OVI case is far more serious than the typical misdemeanor, as the alleged offender not only faces much more serious penalties if convicted but there can also be a number of additional collateral consequences. You should never assume that a prosecutor has an airtight case against you as a closer examination of evidence can often reveal critical flaws by law enforcement officers or other parties that may have a considerable impact on your case.  

Felony OVI Defense Attorneys in Columbus, OH | Sabol | Mallory

Were you arrested for a felony OVI offense in the Columbus area? It will be enormously important for you to make sure that you find a lawyer right away.

Sabol | Mallory can commence an immediate and independent investigation of your arrest to preserve important evidence and begin developing your defense. You can have our attorneys review your case when you call (614) 300-5088 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.  

Felony OVI Penalties in Ohio

People face felony charges for OVI arrests in Ohio when they have multiple prior convictions. State law generally provides the following penalties in these cases:

  • Fourth or Fifth OVI in 10 years, or Sixth OVI in 20 years  — Fourth-degree felony punishable by 60 days to one year in prison and/or a fine of between $1,350 and $10,500, mandatory alcohol/drug addiction program, driver’s license suspension of up to life, driving privileges after three years, license or interlock is required if the offense was alcohol-related, and possible vehicle forfeiture.

  • Fourth or Fifth OVI in 10 years, or Sixth OVI in 20 years with BAC of 0.17 or higher or test refusal with prior in 20 years — Fourth-degree felony punishable by 120 days to one year in prison and/or a fine of between $1,350 and $10,500, mandatory alcohol/drug addiction program, driver’s license suspension of up to life, driving privileges after three years, license or interlock is required if the offense was alcohol-related, and possible vehicle forfeiture.

  • Second Felony OVI Lifetime — Third-degree felony punishable by 60 days to 36 months in prison and/or a fine of between $1,350 and $10,500, mandatory alcohol/drug addiction program, driver’s license suspension of up to life, driving privileges after three years, license or interlock is required if the offense was alcohol-related, and possible vehicle forfeiture.

  • Second Felony OVI Lifetime with BAC of 0.17 or higher or test refusal with prior in 20 years — Third-degree felony punishable by 120 days to 36 months in prison and/or a fine of between $1,350 and $10,500, mandatory alcohol/drug addiction program, driver’s license suspension of up to life, driving privileges after three years, license or interlock is required if the offense was alcohol-related, and possible vehicle forfeiture.

Other Felony OVI Crimes in Ohio

Some people can face felony charges after an OVI arrest even if it is their first arrest when they were involved in motor vehicle accidents. Vehicular assault and vehicular homicide are two common criminal charges filed against drunk drivers following most crashes.

Ohio Revised Code § 2903.08 establishes that any person who causes serious physical harm to another person while operating a motor vehicle in violation of the state OVI law commits aggravated vehicular assault. Aggravated vehicular assault is a third-degree felony punishable by nine months to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Under Ohio Revised Code § 2903.06, a person who causes the death of another person while operating a motor vehicle in violation of the state OVI law commits aggravated vehicular homicide. Aggravated vehicular homicide is a second-degree felony punishable by two to eight years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000.

In addition to possible criminal consequences of convictions for these types of crimes, an alleged offender also faces the additional risk of possible civil liability for damages caused in such cases. Drunk driving can often be used to seek awards for punitive damages, which are often intended specifically to punish defendants and are compensation they must pay in addition to compensatory damages for medical bills, lost wages, or other damages.

Columbus, OH Felony OVI Resources

Franklin County Court of Common Pleas — The Court of Common Pleas is usually the court with jurisdiction in most felony OVI cases in Ohio. Use this website to learn about judges, administration, recent news, and local rules. There is also probation information.

Franklin County Court of Common Pleas

345 South High Street

Columbus, Ohio 43215

(614) 525-3453

Chapter 2903: Homicide and Assault | Ohio Revised Code — View the full text of the state laws for all homicide and assault offenses in the state, including vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. Learn about the difference between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide and negligent homicide. You can also find the statutes for felonious assault and warning signs in construction zones.

State v. South, 144 Ohio St.3d 295, 2015-Ohio-3930 —  Edward South was indicted on one count of OVI, a third-degree felony, and a repeat-offender specification, and was found guilty. The court imposed a three-year sentence for the specification, plus an additional, consecutive five-year sentence for the underlying OVI offense, but the Ninth District Court of Appeals vacated his sentence, holding that it was contrary to law. The Supreme Court of Ohio held that a trial court must sentence that defendant to a mandatory prison term of one, two, three, four, or five years for the repeat-offender specification and can also sentence the defendant to an additional prison term of 9, 12, 18, 24, 30, or 36 months for the underlying OVI conviction.

Contact a Columbus Felony OVI Defense Lawyer Today

Were you arrested for a felony OVI in Columbus or a surrounding area of Ohio? Try to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you possibly can.

Sabol | Mallory routinely undergoes additional training to always stay up to date on the latest ways to examine complex evidence in OVI cases, and we have the knowledge and ability put our skills toward a winning defense. Call (614) 300-5088 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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