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Know All About OVI

■  SIX POINTS.  Under Ohio law, if you’re convicted of OVI or a DUI it’s a six (6) point offense. This amount of points is significant and will generate a six point warning letter from the Ohio BMV. In Ohio, if a driver reaches twelve (12) points, their driver’s license is suspended.

It is not uncommon for intoxicated drivers to earn additional points for lesser infractions such as speeding, marked lanes, and more.

■  POSSIBLY FOREVER?  In Ohio, an OVI/DUI conviction will stay on your driving record essentially forever.  This is particularly relevant for repeat offenders who may face increased penalties.

Driver Abstracts typically only go back three (3) years.  Some insurance companies and employers use driver abstracts when making their decisions about a driver.

NO. Generally speaking, an OVI/DUI conviction cannot be sealed or expunged from your record.

NOT REALLY.  Over the years, the names of the offense have varied between DUI (“Driving Under the Influence”), DWI (“Driving While Impaired”), and OVI(“Operating a Vehicle Impaired”). At present, if you’re caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Ohio, you’ll be charged with an OVI.

  • MISDEMEANOR: The majority of OVI convictions in Ohio are first degree misdemeanors.  Misdemeanors of the first degree Ohio carry a maximum fine of $1,000.00 and a maximum incarceration period of 180 days.
  • FELONY: In Ohio, some OVI convictions may result in a felony classification. Examples include both four OVI convictions within ten years and six OVI convictions within twenty years.

YES, WE’RE NOT KIDDING: Ohio law prohibits the operation of a bicycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Many people are surprised to learn that bicycle OVI carries the same consequences as a drunk driving charge in Ohio. Even if you are cited for an OVI while on a bicycle, it will affect your driving privileges.


  1. What is ‘non-reporting” probation? This form of probation is more common in misdemeanor cases. Following a conviction, a defendant is placed on a probation and is expected to have no further offenses during the probationary period. Subsequent convictions may have enhanced penalties. Weekly drug screens are not common, however it is common to have periodic check-ins with your probation officer.
  2. Can an OVI-DUI on my record be sealed? Generally speaking an OVI conviction cannot be sealed or expunged from your record.
  3. What is a “deferred finding”? In certain circumstances, it may be appropriate to delay sentencing after a plea of guilty is made by the defendant. A “deferred finding” usually is the result of a negotiated plea bargain in which the defendant pleads guilty to an offense, then completes some sort of Court ordered program or other treatment before a sentencing decision is made.
  4. What is a “Pre-Sentence Investigation” or PSI? Sentencing is a complex decision for a Judge to make. Sometimes, the Judge may need to know about the defendant before making a sentencing decision. In some cases, a Court may order a PSI after a guilty finding, thus requiring the defendant to return for a sentencing hearing. During the interim, one common component of a PSI is for the defendant to be interviewed by the Court’s Probation staff.
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