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Legal Services

03. DUI/OVI 

DUI/OVI Charges

Traffic offenses can be treated as misdemeanors or felonies, although the majority are misdemeanors. Many are classified as minor misdemeanors, and carry no possibility of incarceration, only fines, and possible driver’s license suspensions. These include such offenses as first and second offense speeding, improper backing, and equipment violations. More serious traffic violations carry possible jail sentences. These include OVI or DUI, fleeing from an officer, and certain driving under suspension charges. The most serious traffic offenses, including aggravated vehicular homicide and certain repeat-offender DUI/OVI, carry mandatory prison sentences.

License Suspensions


DUI and OVI are different names for the same offense. Both refer to operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Ohio uses the term OVI, while West Virginia uses DUI.

If a driver in Ohio is arrested for OVI, he or she will likely be asked to provide a breath, urine or blood sample. If the driver complies and tests over the legal limit, his or her Ohio driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days. This is called an Administrative License Suspension, or ALS. If the license is from a state other than Ohio, that driver’s privileges to drive in Ohio will be suspended for 90 days. If the driver refuses to submit to a breath, urine or blood test, the Ohio license will be placed under a one year ALS. If that driver has previously refused to submit following an earlier OVI arrest, the suspension can be longer.

Many OVI defendants in Ohio face two breath tests. The first is commonly referred to as the PBT, or preliminary breath test. This is typically offered during the traffic stop on the side of the road and does not result in a license suspension if refused. The driver must first be arrested, transported to a law enforcement station and read the consequences of refusal before refusing to submit to a test can trigger the suspension.

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For many people facing criminal charges, the experience can be one of the most difficult, stressful and confusing events of their lives.​ The consequences of a criminal conviction can stay with you throughout your life. Finding competent legal representation is critical and can substantially change the possible outcome of your case. 

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