Understanding the Changes to Ohio’s OVI Law

Effective April 6, 2017 significant changes to Ohio’s OVI statute are now in effect.  While the legislature did not change the level at which a driver will be deemed impaired, it did significantly alter the mandatory minimum penalties and the driver’s license suspension a court must Ohio's OVI Lawimpose upon a first time conviction of OVI.  The changes were designed to address the problem of multiple repeat OVI offenders in the State and include:

  • Increasing the mandatory minimum suspension of a driver’s license for a first-time offender from six months to one year;
  • Increasing mandatory penalties for offenders who have prior OVI convictions requiring a ten-year “lookback” for prior convictions versus a six-year “lookback;”
  • Alters the conditions a court must impose for first-time offenders and the driving privileges a court may order. It allows the court to order “unlimited driving privileges” for a first time offender provided the defendant requests a certified ignition interlock device “IID” be installed in defendant’s vehicle.

Under the changed law when a defendant requests an IID, the court is required to suspend any jail term imposed, and the court may also reduce up to one-half of the license suspension.

Ohio’s OVI statute remains one of the most severe in the country.  Ohio will now be the 29th state that gives OVI offenders the opportunity to use the ignition interlock device instead of suspending the offender’s license. Neighboring states like Kentucky and West Virginia have already enacted similar laws and have seen their OVI deaths drastically reduced.   If you have any questions about this article or any other OVI concerns, please contact Mike Bly at 937.223.1130 or via email at mbly@pselaw.com.

AUTHOR: Michael Bly