Most states refer to the crime of driving while intoxicated as either DUI or DWI. Ohio officially refers to drunk driving as “operating a vehicle under the influence,” or OVI.

You may hear several terms and acronyms other than Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI), including:

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Driving While Impaired (DWI)
  • Driving with an unlawful BAC level (DUBAL)
  • Operating a Motor Vehicle Impaired (OMVI)

​If an impaired driver is under 21, they will typically be charged with “Operating a Vehicle After Underage Consumption,” or OVUAC. Regardless of which term is used, a conviction for OUI or OVUAC is a serious matter which can carry heavy consequences. If you have been charged with any type of drunk driving offense, it is crucial you retain powerful legal representation to protect your rights and driving privileges.


A first-offense OVI conviction in Ohio can carry penalties anywhere from:

  • 3 days to 6 months in jail,
  • $250 to $1,000 in fines,
  • and a driver’s license suspension from 6 months to 3 years.

Generally speaking, first-time OVI offenses are punished less harshly than repeat offenses and tend to be dealt with in a more rehabilitative than punitive manner. With that being said, harsher penalties may be imposed in instances where a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) measures above 0.17%. In these cases, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle which prevents you from driving if it detects any alcohol in your breath.


If you are convicted of a second DUI/OVI within six years,

  • the minimum mandatory jail sentence is ten consecutive days, while the maximum jail sentence is six months.
  • License suspension ranges from a minimum of one year to a maximum of five years, with no driving privileges for 45 days.
  • You’ll be fined between $525 and $1,625.

If you are convicted of a third DUI/OVI within six years,

  • the minimum jail sentence is 30 consecutive days, and the maximum jail sentence is one year.
  • License suspension ranges from a minimum of two years to a maximum of ten years, with no driving privileges for 180 days.
  • You’ll be fined between $850 and $2,750.


There are a number of field performance tests that law enforcement may administer. It is important that you do not take any of these tests. They are not really looking to determine if you are under the influence of alcohol, they are looking for evidence to use against you. If they believe the field tests support their conclusion that you are under the influence, they may arrest you.

The field tests you should not take include:

  • Horizontal gaze (Pen Test)
  • Walking a straight line and turning (Walk and Turn)
  • One leg stand
  • Portable breath test
  • Should I Take a Field Performance Test?

​You do not have to take these tests and, depending on the circumstances, there may be no consequence for your failure to do so. Though you may be considered uncooperative and arrested, they will likely arrest you anyway. It is your right to tell law enforcement officials that you would like to speak with a Toledo DUI lawyer or that your attorney has advised against doing these tests.


There may be times where you will have no choice as to whether or not to submit to tests. If you are unconscious, if you are transported for medical treatment, if the police obtain a search warrant, or if you refuse to cooperate, you could be facing an automatic felony.

Ohio law requires you to take a breath, blood, or urine test if you are arrested for a DUI. If you refuse to take a test, you could lose your right to drive and face a short suspension followed by possible limited occupational privileges. You will need to consider how much alcohol you consumed before submitting to taking the test.

​Ohio’s Implied Consent Law
According to Ohio law, if you are lawfully arrested and the law enforcement official has probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence, you automatically consent to take a chemical test to determine your BAC level.


Refusal to take the test will result in the following penalties:

  • First offense – One year of license suspension
  • Second offense within six years – Two years of license suspension
  • Third offense within six years – Three years of license suspension

Prior to this, you are allowed to refuse a breath test without license suspension or other penalties. The preliminary breath test is to support probable cause for a DUI arrest.


Are you facing charges for driving under the influence? If you have been stopped for DUI, you may be wondering what rights you have and how to protect yourself. It is imperative that you reach out to a defense attorney for advice immediately. Choosing a lawyer who is familiar with DUI laws and the consequences of testing is essential. At the Law Office of Lorin J. Zaner, our DUI attorney in Toledo, Ohio is backed by over 40 years of knowledgeable and experience in representing all different types of DUI cases, including Breath Test Refusal, Field Sobriety Tests, and Multiple DUI.

By Denizan

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