Ohio law calls driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol OVI, which stands for operating a vehicle impaired. Even a first OVI offense carries mandatory jail time along with fines and license suspension. The officer will confiscate your license upon your arrest, and you will be responsible for fees and administrative costs even if the court drops the charges.

Read on to learn more about the penalties for various OVI convictions in the state.

Low-tier OVI

Drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% to 0.17% as measured by a breath test may receive a so-called “low tier” or “low test” OVI. A first offense of this kind results in a mandatory minimum sentence of three days and up to six months in jail, although you may be able to serve time in an approved driver alcohol intervention program. Fines range from $375 to $1,075, with a mandatory license suspension of six months to three years, although some drivers may qualify for a limited license program. You could also receive up to five years probation.

High-tier OVI

This conviction occurs with a tested BAC of above 0.17% and carries six days to six months in jail. Upon regaining your driving privileges, you will receive a bright yellow license plate that indicates your limited OVI license status. Some drivers with this conviction must install an ignition interlock device at their own expense. Fines are the same as for a low-tier OVI conviction.

Refusing a breath test

Ohio drivers agree to implied consent to a breath test by traveling on the state’s roads. If you refuse a breath test, you will receive a one-year license suspension with eligibility for a restricted license after 30 days (compared with 15 days for an arrest without refusal).

It is especially important for CDL drivers to avoid DUI charges, as they may be subject to increased penalties including loss of livelihood.