Ohio DUI Laws

Ohio DUI laws impose stiff penalties on anyone caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Ohio DUI laws require jail time for first-time offenders, and subsequent offenders could face house arrest after time served. If you’ve been convicted of a DUI in Ohio, you can expect your Ohio car insurance rates to go up. Start shopping for affordable DUI auto insurance here with our free quote comparison tool below.

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 30, 2020

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The state of Ohio takes safe driving very seriously, and imposes stiff penalties on individuals who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Across the nation, it has been said that a driving fatality due to alcohol happens every 30 minutes. Losing family members and loved ones due to drunk drivers is a tragedy, and can only be prevented by not driving after drinking or taking drugs.

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Basic DUI Laws for Ohio

In Ohio, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. Commercial drivers must adhere to a lower BAC, usually .04%, and the legal BAC is substantially lower for underage drivers.

Ohio uses a slightly different terminology for a DUI, which is an OVI or “operating a vehicle intoxicated.” The OVI law includes drugs or alcohol, or both together. While a legal limit exists for alcohol levels it is illegal in Ohio to drive a motor vehicle with any amount at all of controlled substances such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana or methamphetamine in a driver’s blood.

Penalties Associated with an OVI in Ohio

A person convicted in Ohio will be subject to a number of penalties. For a first offender, jail time is a minimum of three days and can go as high as six months, or a person may be assigned to a driver intervention program to be completed over three days. If the driver is arrested with a BAC of .17% or higher, he will spend a minimum of six days in jail. Driver’s license suspension ranges from six months up to three years, and individuals must pay $450 to have their license reinstated once the suspension period is over. Fines can range from $250 up to $1,000.

If a person is caught and arrested for a second OVI, jail time increases to a minimum of 10 days, or 20 days with a BAC of .17% or higher. Fines go up to $350 to $1,500, license suspension periods range from one to five years and a few additional penalties are added. Convicted drivers must wear an electric home monitoring device for 18 days, or up to six months. Additionally, their vehicle may be immobilized for three months and they will be required to attend a driver intervention program.

Ohio OVI Accident Rates

Ohio is safer to drive in than the average state in the nation. From 2005 to 2009, fatal accidents involving drunk drivers have fallen slightly. The number of accidents per 100 million vehicle mile traveled is below the national average in each year as well. The NHTSA uses the metric of 100 million vehicle miles traveled, or 100 million VMT, to put states with smaller populations on equal footing with other states that have much greater populations, and hence, a greater number of overall drunk-driving fatalities. Ohio had 1,321 total car accident fatalities in 2005, with the number declining to 1,021 in 2009. On average, each year 30 percent of the state’s traffic fatalities involved at least one person with a BAC at or above the .08 legal limit.

Is a SR-22 Form Filing Required in Ohio?

Drivers convicted of an OVI may be required to carry either SR-22 insurance or a liability bond. An SR-22 bond gives drivers the basic liability coverage required by the state and covers the driver regardless of who’s car he is driving, but does not cover the driver’s own car.

SR-22 insurance is the choice of most drivers with an SR-22 requirement. For those who need to protect their car or themselves against uninsured drivers, an insurance policy can include comprehensive and collision coverage as well. SR-22 policyholders should not let their policy lapse; if they do the insurance company is obligated to notify Ohio’s Motor Vehicle Department, and the driver’s license will be suspended again.

SR-22 insurance will need to be carried for three years, although individuals caught driving under the influence without in-force auto insurance will need to carry SR-22 insurance for five years. Additionally, if a person relocates to a different state, he must still maintain SR-22 insurance for Ohio.

How much is car insurance after an OVI conviction?

In Ohio, drivers may pay more for SR-22 insurance since car insurance companies now view them as a high-risk driver. An OVI will stay on a driver’s record forever in Ohio, and will affect insurance rates for several years. The only good news is that with the passage of time and maintenance of a good driving record, insurance companies will place much less weight on the conviction and insurance will not be as expensive in the future.

Car insurance companies review many aspects of a person’s unique situation when calculating insurance premiums. They consider the person’s driving history, make of car, gender, age and number of miles driven to and from work. The state a person lives in also affects insurance rates, since every state has different minimum required insurance coverage limits and some require more than others do. There are ways to reduce the cost of insurance including discounts for combining policies, maintaining good grades, and agreeing to have payments auto-deducted each month.

Ohio Car Insurance Companies for High-Risk Drivers

Ohio has several insurance companies that can provide SR-22 insurance at affordable prices to its residents. The easiest way to find affordable insurance is to check with many different insurers. Each insurance company calculates premiums differently, and quotes may vary widely, so the time investment is worthwhile.

Many insurance companies offer tools and information on their websites to help consumes get fast quotes and learn about how to apply as many discounts as possible to their insurance purchase. Some of the better companies to visit for Ohio SR-22 insurance are Geico, Progressive Insurance, State Farm Insurance and Allstate Insurance.

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