What are the penalties for a first offense OVI in Ohio? On April 6, 2017 Ohio’s DUI Law will undergo yet another major change. At that time, House Bill 388 will take effect. The Ohio Legislature passed it on December 6, 2016. It is commonly referred to as Annie’s Law. Annie’s Law is named after Annie Rooney, an attorney from Chillicothe, Ohio who was killed in an auto accident on July 4, 2013. A person who was a multiple OVI offender and whose blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit caused the auto accident.

Previously, Ohio had two distinct look back periods. There was a six-year period and a twenty-year period. HB 388 changed the six-year look back to a ten-year. It also changed the way the DIP program is given as well as limited driving privileges.

The second look back period is twenty-years. HB 388 does not change the effect of the twenty-year look back. The twenty-year look back applies to people who have refused a chemical test or who have received six OVI’s in that time frame. The effect of having an OVI charge now and a prior 15 years ago where a chemical test was refused is to enhance the penalties to what we would call a ‘high-tier’ range.

OVI penalties are matrix based. Below we’ve created a chart to show how a first offense is treated under the new law. The penalties below are what a judge, at a minimum, must impose and on the high side what they could impose. These are for ‘simple’ OVI cases – not ones where a third party in an auto accident sustains an injury. It is also not looking at the issue of pre-trial driving privileges.

OVI Penalties For A First Offense In Ten Years, low-tier test (<0.170) or refusal

Jail3 days (jail or DIP) to 180 days jail
Jail if Interlock ImposedIf IID is imposed, jail time must be suspended
Fine$375 – $1,075
Driver’s License Suspension1 year – 3 years
ProbationUp to 5 years
Limited Driving PrivilegesEligible after 15 days from the date of the offense. If given unlimited privileges, must have interlock and license. Restricted plates are optional
Points Assigned by BMV6
Alcohol/Drug TreatmentAt the discretion of the Judge

OVI Penalties for a First Offense In Ten Years either with a high-tier test (<0.170) or a refusal with a prior in the past Twenty Years

Jail6 days jail or 3 days jail and 3 days DIP up to 180 days
Jail if Interlock ImposedIf IID is imposed, jail time must be suspended
Fine$375 – $1,075
Driver’s License Suspension1 year – 5 years
ProbationUp to 5 years
Limited Driving PrivilegesRestricted Plates Required. IID/License required with unlimited driving privilges
Points Assigned by BMV6
Alcohol/Drug TreatmentAn assessment is mandatory and any recommended treatment must be completed

What is the difference between ‘Low-Tier’ vs. ‘High-Tier’?

What makes something a ‘low-tier’ test vs. a ‘high-tier’ test? The relative levels of alcohol in a persons blood, breath, or urine sample determine if the OVI is a ‘low-tier’ or ‘high-tier’.

Type of TestLow TestHigh Test
Breath0.08 to 0.1690.170 or above
Urine0.11 to 0.2370.238 or above
Blood0.08 to 0.1690.170 or above
Serum or Plasma0.096 to 0.2030.204 or above

Changes from Ohio’s new Annie’s Law

Here are a few things to keep in mind about the new Ohio DUI law:

  1. First offense DUI suspension raised from 6-months to 1-year
  2. Ability to petition court to reduce suspension to 6-months
  3. Unlimited driving privileges now available with an IID
  4. Obtaining an IID will suspend the jail time imposed
  5. If the person violates the IID order, the jail time will be imposed
  6. If the person gets the IID, they must obtain an restricted license – failure to do so will result in a Driving Under Suspension charge

After serving one-half of the suspension period, a person may apply for reinstatement of their driver’s license. In the past, the minimum suspension was 6-months. An Ohio first DUI offender now faces a minimum of a 1-year suspension with the ability to petition the court at a later date to reduce the suspension period to 6-months.

After the driving suspension period is up, a reinstatement fee of $475 must be paid to the Ohio BMV. Proof of insurance that is current as of the end date of the suspension or when the person reinstates – whichever is later – must be presented to the BMV as well.

Judge Jennifer Weiler’s PDF on the Impaired Driving Laws in Ohio

Here is a PDF chart on Ohio’s Impaired Driving Law prepared by Judge Jennifer Weiler in northern Ohio that is typically used by courts and attorneys across the state.