In Columbus, Ohio, a first time misdemeanor Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of or Alcohol (OVI) charge will commonly fall in one of the following categories:

  • (a)(1)(a) Operating while appreciably (noticeably) impaired – this offense will be charged as Misdemeanor of the 1st Degree. Also known as a “simple OVI”
  • (a)(1)(d) Operating with a Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08 to .17 also known as a “low tier” OVI
  • (a)(1)(h) Operating with a Breath Alcohol Concentration of .17 or higher. Also known as a “High Tier” OVI.
  • There are similar statutes that are reflective of a blood or urine test.

The arresting officer will typically charge you with more than one OVI charge. The reason is to cover their basis in case certain challenges against evidence and/or procedure are successful. For example, if you and your attorney are able to have your chemical test results “suppressed,” you will not be able to be convicted of driving with a prohibited BAC.

Simple OVI

However, you could still be convicted of the “Simple OVI” by having the arresting officer testify in regards to his observations of you the night you were allegedly drinking and driving. The officer would testify as to what he observed of your driving, your behavior after you were pulled over, and your performance on standardized field sobriety tests.
You can expect to be arrested and possibly spend at least one night in jail. If you are polite and cooperative, the officer has discretion to take you home or allow a friend to pick you up.

Is there mandatory jail time? (Valid through April 6, 2017)

Simple OVI

Yes. On a “simple OVI” first offense and a low tier OVI first offense, the statute requires a mandatory 3 days in jail. However, the courts allow you the option of choosing a 3 day driver intervention program in lieu of the 3 days in jail.

High Tier OVI

For the “high tier” OVI the mandatory jail time is 6 days. However, the judge can allow you do to a 6 day driver’s intervention program or a split between the 3 day program and 3 days in jail.

PLEASE NOTE – April 7, 2017 the penalties for 1st time OVIs. See my next article for the update!

Contact Suhre & Associates for more information

Call us at Suhre & Associates, LLC at (614) 827-2000 to learn more about OVI charges and penalties in Ohio.