31 Aug
Author: Colin Maher
Date: 2018-08-31
Categories: Traffic

Is There a Difference Between OVI, DUI, and DWI?

You spell DUI, DWI, and OVI differently.

Other than the terminology, though, each alleged offense comes down to driving after drinking too much alcohol or using drugs. States assign different names to this, but the legal consequences for getting convicted are pretty severe regardless of the location.

Decoding the Abbreviations

Most people refer to drunk and drugged driving as DUI, which stands for driving under the influence. The term describes the alleged offense well. It has few applications in a legal context, however.

The majority of states use the term DWI in statutes and court documents. This abbreviation can be short for driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired.

Ohio, however, calls driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol OVI, or operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Lawmakers’ decision to use this somewhat clunky and unfamiliar term reflects their determination to stress that pretty much anything with wheels or a motor satisfies the definition of a legal vehicle. In Ohio, OVI laws cover people operating boats, riding bicycles, using scooters, flying aircrafts, driving cars, trucks, buses, heavy equipment, and motorcycles.

Further, Ohio, like every other state, defines intoxication for people older than 21 as having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or above. The legal BAC limits in Ohio are lower for commercial vehicle drivers (0.04) and for drivers younger than 21 (0.02). The state also recognizes legal limits for blood and urine concentrations of amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, LSD, marijuana, methamphetamines, PCP, and salvia.

The Consequences of OVI in Ohio

Each state imposes different sentences for DUI, DWI, and OVI. In Ohio, a first-time conviction can result in all of the following penalties

  • Jail, monitored house arrest, or completion of a multiday driving and alcohol safety course
  • Fines starting at $375
  • Court costs and fees
  • 1-3 year driver’s license suspension during which driving a commercial vehicle will not be allowed
  • Addiction assessment and/or treatment
  • Use of a specially designed OVI offender license plate
  • Use of an ignition interlock device that kills the car’s engine if any alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath
  • Payment of all costs for court-ordered courses, treatment, reinstating a license with limited driving privileges, and installing and servicing an ignition interlock device

Get Advice and Representation From an Ohio OVI Attorney

Judges and prosecutors go after suspected drunk and drugged drivers hard. A DUI defense lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, will work from day one to ensure that his client receives fair treatment. The attorney will also know how to protect his client from the inappropriate collection and use of evidence, how to negotiate a plea deal to a lesser offense, and how to question the actions and interpretations of the police officer who made the arrest and issued the OVI charge.

If you are facing an OVI case, feel free to reach out to a DUI lawyer in the Columbus, OH, offices of The Maher Law Firm. The initial phone consultation is always free. To speak to a lwayer now, call (614) 205-2208 or connect with us online.

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