What Drivers Should Know About DUI Laws in Columbus

Like many other states, Ohio has enacted very strict drunk driving laws. If you or a loved one has been charged with this particular offense, engage the services of a DUI lawyer as soon as possible. A DWI defense attorney in Columbus can help you understand the applicable laws and the potential penalties involved. Your lawyer can also explore the details of your particular case to determine if the arresting officer made a procedural error that may be used for your benefit.


Many individuals facing drunk driving charges in Columbus are confused by the acronyms. For practical purposes, DUI, DWI, OVI, and OMVI all refer to the same offense of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Officially, Ohio laws no longer use the DUI/DWI acronyms after the legislature passed a 1982 law that groups these offenses under the umbrella of operating a motor vehicle impaired (OMVI). Now, the offense is referred to as operating a vehicle impaired (OVI), which encompasses all types of vehicles, including bicycles. As your drunk driving defense attorney can point out, an implied consent law is in effect in Ohio. This means you’re facing automatic license suspension and a fine if you refuse to take a chemical test to check your blood alcohol content (BAC). Under Ohio law, you are presumed guilty if your BAC is over the legal limit. However, your defense attorney can present a strong case against a conviction.

OVI/DUI Legal Limits

In Columbus and throughout Ohio, the legal limit is a BAC of 0.08 percent. However, individuals who are under the age of 21 can face drunk driving charges if their BAC is 0.02 percent. The legal limit of a urine sample is 0.11, and the legal limit of a blood serum or plasma sample is 0.096. The latter methods of testing BAC may be more likely to be contested in court by your DUI lawyer.

OVI/DUI Penalties

If convicted, you will face severe penalties. The severity of the penalties will increase if you have had prior convictions. Under Ohio law, you are facing substantial fines, suspension of your license, and jail time.