Any arrest for operating vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI) in Ohio is frightening, but many people who are arrested for their first OVI offenses have never faced any kind of criminal charges before. OVI is referred to as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) in other states, but the laws are generally the same and punish people who drive drunk.

First OVI

Even when you know that you are a fine citizen in every other sense, you should not assume that a prosecutor will be inclined to show you any mercy when recommending a sentence. For this reason, you will want to be sure that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney.

First OVI Defense Lawyers in Columbus, OH | Sabol | Mallory

If you were arrested for your first OVI offense in any community in the greater Columbus area, do not wait another moment to seek legal representation. You should contact Sabol | Mallory as soon as possible.

Our firm has over 20 years of combined legal experience. Call (614) 300-5088 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.  

First OVI Charges in Ohio

A first OVI is a first-degree misdemeanor. Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19(A)(1) establishes that a person commits OVI if they:

  • Are under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them.

  • Have a concentration of 0.08 or more but less than 0.17 by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person's whole blood.

  • The person has a concentration of 0.096 or more but less than 0.204 by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person's blood serum or plasma.

  • The person has a concentration of 0.08 or more but less than 0.17 by weight of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of the person's breath.

  • The person has a concentration of 0.11 or more but less than 0.238 by weight of alcohol per 100 milliliters of the person's urine.

  • The person has a concentration of 0.17 or more by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person's whole blood.

  • The person has a concentration of 0.204 or more by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person's blood serum or plasma.

  • The person has a concentration of 0.17 or more by weight of alcohol per 210 liters of the person's breath.

  • The person has a concentration of 0.238 or more by weight of alcohol per 100 milliliters of the person's urine.

Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19(A)(1)(j) further provides that a person can be charged with OVI when they have a concentration of any enumerated controlled substances or metabolites of a controlled substance in their whole blood, blood serum or plasma, or urine that equals or exceeds any one of various specified levels:

  • The person has a concentration of amphetamine measuring at least 500 ng/mL in their urine or 100 ng/mL in their blood.
  • The person has a concentration of cocaine measuring at least 150 ng/mL in their urine or 50 ng/mL in their blood.
  • The person has a concentration of cocaine metabolite measuring at least 150 ng/mL in their urine or 50 ng/mL in their blood.
  • The person has a concentration of heroin measuring at least 2000 ng/mL in their urine or 50 ng/mL in their blood.
  • The person has a concentration of heroin metabolite measuring at least 10 ng/mL in their urine or 10 ng/mL in their blood.
  • The person has a concentration of L.S.D. measuring at least 25 ng/mL in their urine or 10 ng/mL in their blood.
  • The person has a concentration of marihuana measuring at least 10 ng/mL in their urine or 2 ng/mL in their blood.
  • The person has a concentration of marihuana metabolite measuring at least 15 ng/mL in their urine or 5 ng/mL in their blood, and are also proven to be under the influence.
  • The person has a concentration of marihuana metabolite measuring at least 35 ng/mL in their urine or 50 ng/mL in their blood.
  • The person has a concentration of methamphetamine measuring at least 500 ng/mL in their urine or 100 ng/mL in their blood.
  • The person has a concentration of heroin measuring at least 2000 ng/mL in their urine or 50 ng/mL in their blood.
  • The person has a concentration of phencyclidine measuring at least 25 ng/mL in their urine or 10 ng/mL in their blood.

First OVI Penalties in Ohio

OVI has a 10-year “lookback period,” which means that all other violations committed within the prior 10 years will be counted against an alleged offender. When a person who committed an OVI more than 10 years ago commits a subsequent offense, it will be prosecuted as though it was a first offense.

The blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of the alleged offender can be an important distinction in these cases. In general, convictions are punishable as follows:

  • First OVI in 10 years — First-degree misdemeanor punishable by three days to six months in jail and/or a fine of between $375 and $1,075, driver’s license suspension of up to three years, driving privileges after 15 days, and license or interlock is required for unlimited privileges.

  • First OVI in 10 years with BAC of 0.17 or higher or test refusal with prior in 20 years — First-degree misdemeanor punishable by six days to six months in jail and/or a fine of between $375 and $1,075, driver’s license suspension of up to three years, driving privileges after 15 days, and license or interlock is required for unlimited privileges.

Some of the biggest consequences of OVI convictions are not directly related to the court cases. Convictions can cause possible issues with employment, housing, or professional licensing.

Columbus, OH First OVI Resources

Franklin County Municipal Court Clerk — Most misdemeanor cases will be handled in the Franklin County Municipal Court, while the the Common Pleas Court typically handles the felony offenses. You can use this website to search for information on your case. You can also find rules, directions, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Franklin County Municipal Court

375 S. High St.

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 645-8186

OVI Interdiction Handbook | Ohio Department of Public Safety — The OVI Interdiction Handbook is intended to provide a general overview of state OVI laws. The handbook is broken into pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, post-trial, and miscellaneous issues. There is also a glossary and a number of appendices.

DUI, DWI, OMVI and OVI: What Do They Mean? | Ohio State Bar Association — View an article by the Ohio State Bar Association discussing the differences between the acronyms DUI, DWI, OMVI, and OVI. The article also discusses “high tier” offenses for BACs of 0.17 or more. You can also learn more about underage offenses.

Contact a Columbus First OVI Defense Attorney Today

Were you recently arrested for your first OVI offense in the Columbus area of Ohio? You will want to immediately retain qualified legal counsel, and Sabol | Mallory provides the following skills:

  • Qualified instructor in standardized field sobriety testing
  • Qualified practitioners of standardized field sobriety testing
  • ARIDE (Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement) qualified
  • Successfully completed the Axion Labs Forensic DUID Course
  • Successfully completed the Axion Labs Forensic Drug Analysis
  • Successfully completed the Axion Labs Forensic Chromatography Theory and Practice
  • Qualified as a senior operator of the BAC Datamaster by completing the National Patent BAC Datamaster, K, DMT and Basic Science of Evidential Breath Alcohol Testing Operation and Diagnostic Verification, modeled after the BAC Datamaster Supervisor Course

Our firm can fight for a resolution that involves the fewest possible penalties. We can assess all of your legal options as soon as you call (614) 300-5088 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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