Ohio's New OVI Laws

OVI Questions & Answers

  1. What can you tell me about Ohio's new Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI) law?
  2. If I have been previously convicted of OVI and get arrested on a new OVI charge, how does the new law affect me?
  3. If I have one previous conviction for OVI and get convicted of a new OVI offense, how does the new law affect me?
  4. What if I have two prior convictions within the past six years?
  5. Is it true that, under the new law, I can be forced to give a blood sample if I'm arrested for OVI?

1. WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT OHIO'S NEW OPERATING A VEHICLE IMPAIRED (OVI) LAW?

The new law, which goes into effect on September 30, 2008, is designed to "get tough" on OVI offenders who have been previously convicted of OVI. Other than increases in fines from $325 to $375 and driver's license reinstatement fees from $425 to $475, the new law has no affect on first-time OVI offenders.

2. IF I HAVE BEEN PREVIOUSLY CONVICTED OF OVI AND GET ARRESTED ON A NEW OVI CHARGE, HOW DOES THE NEW LAW AFFECT ME?

If you have one previous conviction in the past six years and the results of a blood alcohol content (BAC) test are at or above the legal BAC limit, the time within which you will not be allowed to drive has been extended from 30 to 45 days. After that, limited driving privileges may be granted.

3. IF I HAVE ONE PREVIOUS CONVICTION FOR OVI AND GET CONVICTED OF A NEW OVI OFFENSE, HOW DOES THE NEW LAW AFFECT ME?

If you have one prior OVI conviction within the past six years, you will have to complete a substance abuse assessment and follow all treatment recommendations.

After the new 45-day waiting period, limited driving privileges can be granted, but you will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle you drive.

4. WHAT IF I HAVE TWO PRIOR CONVICTIONS WITHIN THE PAST SIX YEARS?

You will not be allowed to consume beer and/or any intoxicating liquor and you may be required to wear a "secure continuous remote alcohol monitoring" (SCRAM) device.

If you are granted limited driving privileges, the vehicle you drive must be equipped with an ignition interlock device. You will be required to follow the recommendations of alcohol and drug addiction programs.

5. IS IT TRUE THAT, UNDER THE NEW LAW, I CAN BE FORCED TO GIVE A BLOOD SAMPLE IF I'M ARRESTED FOR OVI?

Yes. Actually, the law has allowed "forced blood draws" since 1986. The difference is that the law used to require a judge to sign a warrant authorizing a blood draw, using force if reasonably necessary. Under the new law, court intervention is not always necessary. If you have been convicted of two or more offenses within the past six years or five or more offenses within the past 20 years, or if you have been previously convicted of a felony, law enforcement can use whatever force is reasonably necessary to obtain a blood sample without first having to get approval from a judge.