Prior Drunk Driving Convictions

Prior OVI or drunk driving convictions can change the mandatory minimum penalties that you face, as well as the degree of the offense that you will be charged.  

A first OVI offense in Ohio obviously carries the lowest amount of penalties, but even so, they are more than a slap on a wrist. If convicted of a first offense OVI impaired or low test per se charge and have no other OVI convictions in the last six years, you will face:

  • Misdemeanor of the first degree;
  • A minimum of 3 days in jail or a driver intervention program;
  • A fine of $375; and
  • A Class 5 driver’s license suspension of at least six months.

If convicted of a first offense OVI high test per se charge, or have refused a chemical test within the last twenty years charge, and have no other OVI convictions in the last six years, you will face:

  • Misdemeanor of the first degree;
  • A minimum of 6 days in jail;
  • A fine of $375; 
  • A Class 5 driver’s license suspension of at least six months; and
  • Restricted vehicle plates.

A second OVI conviction in Ohio now takes into account when the prior conviction occurred.  If the prior OVI conviction occurred within the last six years, and you are convicted of OVI impaired or low test per se charge, you will face:

  • Misdemeanor of the first degree;
  • A minimum of 10 days in jail;
  • A fine of $525;
  • A mandatory alcohol/drug assessment and recommended treatment;
  • A class 4 driver’s license suspension of at least 1 year; 
  • Restricted vehicle plates;
  • An interlock device for your vehicle; and
  • Your vehicle will be immobilized for 90 days if it is registered in your name.

If the prior OVI conviction occurred within the last six years, and you are convicted of OVI high test per se or refusal with a prior conviction in the last 20 years, you will face:

  • Misdemeanor of the first degree;
  • A minimum of 20 days in jail;
  • A fine of $525;
  • A mandatory alcohol/drug assessment and recommended treatment;
  • A class 4 driver’s license suspension of at least 1 year; 
  • Restricted vehicle plates;
  • An interlock device for your vehicle; and
  • Your vehicle will be immobilized for 90 days if it is registered in your name.

A third OVI conviction in Ohio within the last six years, for an impaired charge or a low test per se charge, carries the following penalties:

  • Unclassified misdemeanor;
  • A minimum of 30 days in jail;
  • A fine of $850;
  • A mandatory alcohol/drug addiction program;
  • A class 3 driver’s license suspension of at least 2 years; 
  • Restricted vehicle plates;
  • An interlock device for your vehicle; and
  • Your vehicle will be forfeited if it is registered in your name.

A third OVI conviction in Ohio within the last six years, for high test per se charge, or a refusal within the past 20 years, carries the following penalties:

  • Unclassified misdemeanor;
  • A minimum of 60 days in jail;
  • A fine of $850;
  • A mandatory alcohol/drug addiction program;
  • A class 3 driver’s license suspension of at least 2 years; 
  • Restricted vehicle plates;
  • An interlock device for your vehicle; and
  • Your vehicle will be forfeited if it is registered in your name.

A fourth or fifth OVI conviction in Ohio within the last six years becomes a felony, with even more severe penalties.  If you have a prior drunk driving conviction and you have been charged with OVI, it is critical that you contact an experienced OVI defense attorney.

With each conviction the penalties change, so knowing Ohio’s minimum penalties for your conviction is a good way to work toward the lowest sentence possible. An experienced Ohio OVI defense attorney can help you understand the minimum charges you face and work toward obtaining the best possible result under the facts of your case.