Difference Between OVI, DUI, and DWI and the Penalties

Difference Between OVI, DUI, and DWI and the PenaltiesOperating a vehicle impaired (OVI), driving under the influence (DUI), and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are all offenses relating to driving while under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. The state of Ohio does not use DUI or DWI acronyms. It now uses the OVI acronym in all cases of drug and alcohol impairment while operating any vehicle, including non-motorized ones.

DUI and DWI: Alike But Different

A DUI can refer to the use of alcohol, drugs, or both. A DWI refers only to the use of alcohol. In the states that have DUI and DWI, the difference between the two charges may be more than just the method of impairment. In jurisdictions that have both DUI and DWI, the degree of impairment plays a role in the charge.

DUI is a lesser charge, while the DWI is used in cases where there was a higher degree of impairment. Because the state of Ohio does not have DUI or DWI, all charges of this type are labeled as OVI.

The OVI Penalties in Ohio

The penalties for OVI in Ohio can vary, with the severity of the punishment increasing after each progressive offense.

  • First OVI: In the first OVI, jail time can range from a minimum of three days to a maximum of six months. The fines and penalties range from $375 up to $1,000. The suspension of driving privileges ranges from six months to three years.
  • Second OVI in six years: In a second OVI, jail time can range from a minimum of 10 days to a maximum of six months. The fines and penalties range from $525 to $1,625. Driver’s license suspension ranges from a minimum of 1 year to a maximum of 5 years. An Ignition Interlock Device must be installed on the driver’s vehicle before they may drive again.
  • Third OVI in six years: In a third OVI, jail time can range from 30 days to 1 year. The fines and penalties range from $850 to $2,750. Driver’s license suspension ranges from two to 10 years. An Ignition Interlock Device must be installed on the driver’s vehicle before they may drive again.
  • Fourth or fifth OVI in six years or sixth OVI in 20 years: Jail time ranges from 60 days up to 1 year. Fines and penalties range from $1,350 to $10,500. Driver’s license suspension lasts for a minimum of 3 years, and could be permanent. If driving privileges are allowed again, an Ignition Interlock Device must be installed on the driver’s vehicle before they may drive again.

These are the basics, but your fine and jail time could drastically change if you tested well above the legal limit.

The Lookback Period

The lookback period is the period of time that the state of Ohio looks at previous OVIs. That lookback period is six years. This means that any OVIs in the past six years are included when the sentencing is done. Because OVIs are relevant for sentencing purposes for such a long period in Ohio, it is essential that people facing these charges for a second time or more get experienced legal help right away.

Even people facing their first and only OVI have a tough road ahead of them if they don’t have legal help. Chris Wesner has been a practicing member of the Ohio bar since 2007. He can guide you through the court process as efficiently as possible, so that the charges will have the least impact upon your life possible. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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