All Ohio drivers operating a vehicle must have an car insurance policy in effect that meets the minimum car insurance requirements under the Ohio Revised Code, section 4509.51.
- $12,500 bodily injury or death for a person in one accident
- $25,000 bodily injury or death for two people in an accident
- $7,500 property injury in any accident
- Satisfactory proof to the Registrar that the person can respond to damages at least equal to the above requirements.
The person must have valid, current car insurance card identification as proof of insurance, or they should not operate any motor vehicle. This valid insurance card indicating financial responsibility must be presented when a person is involved in an accident, gets a traffic ticket, or is found guilty of a traffic violation.
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Ohio State DUI Requirements
According to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Insurance Requirements, it is not legal to drive with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. This level, or blood alcohol concentration (BAC), is lower for drivers that are under the age of 21 and for commercial drivers. Driving under the influence of alcohol is called an OVI in Ohio, which means Operating a Vehicle Intoxicated. This OVI level is for drugs and/or alcohol. It is illegal to drive while under the influence of any controlled substance in Ohio. This includes heroin, marijuana, cocaine or meth. A DUI affects car insurance greatly so don’t drink and drive! Learn more at Ohio Department of Public Safety.
A person that has been convicted of driving under the influence, or an OVI, must have the above referenced types of car insurance in order to get their license reinstated.
Ohio State DUI Laws
Ohio is a state of Implied Consent for anyone operating a vehicle on any highway, private or public property used for vehicular travel, or even any person in physical control of a vehicle. Physical control means that the person is in the front driver’s seat and is in possession of the ignition keys or other ignition starting device. Implied Consent means that when the person is stopped for suspected OVI, they are deemed to have given consent to alcohol, blood, urine or breath testing in order to determine if they are over the legal limit of .08 for alcohol while driving. This is an important statute to note, as a person cannot refuse the OVI testing when arrested.
A person who tests with a BAC of .08 is considered driving under the influence even if the person is not affected or influenced by the alcohol level. The person can still be arrested and/or convicted, and this is often called the “per se” DUI or OVI offense.
Another aspect of the law is for underage alcohol consumption. Any person under age 21 found to be operating a vehicle with a BAC of .02 percent, but less that .08 percent is in violation of the law and can be charged and arrested for an OVI.
These criminal charges can be found under the Ohio code ORC 4511.19, and there are two separate levels of charges that a person can receive.
- Administrative Issue One – this is relative to the implied consent application of the law where a person fails or refuses to take a breath or blood test. If the license has been suspended for this cause, the person has the right to appeal the suspension. Filing the appeal does not mean the suspension will be overturned. It just provides the person with a chance to explain any circumstances surrounding the suspension.
- Administrative Issue Two – this is relative to a criminal charge for OVI or for physical control of the vehicle while impaired. The person must appear in court or a warrant will be issued for an arrest for failure to appear. If convicted, the driver could lose their license for a period of time, separate from the suspension from Administrative Issue One.
Ohio State DUI Penalties
Ohio has penalties for driving under the influence.
- Three days minimum in jail, up to six months
- Drivers Intervention Program for three days
- If BAC is .17 or above, six days jail time
- Suspended license from six months to three years
- Fine imposed from $250 to $1,000
- A license reinstatement fee of $450 must be paid
- Minimum of ten days in jail
- Electronic home monitoring device must be worn if not in jail from 18 days to up to six months
- If BAC is .17 or above, jail time of 20 days
- A fine must be paid from $350 to $1,500
- License can be suspended for up to five years
- Person must attend a driver intervention program
- License reinstatement fee of $450
- The vehicle can be immobilized for up to 90 days
- Jail time can be imposed from 30 days to up to one year
- The person wears an electronic home monitoring device for 55 days up to one year after spending 15 days in jail
- If BAC is .17 or above, the person spends 60 days in jail
- License can be suspended from one to ten years
- Reinstatement of license fee of $450
- Mandatory attendance in an alcohol treatment program
- Vehicle can be immobilized for up to 180 days
- A fine can be imposed from $350 to $1,500
After the fourth conviction it is a felony offense that comes with jail time from 60 days to a year with fines up to $10,000. The person can suffer permanent license suspension and a mandatory forfeiture of their vehicle, along with mandatory drug and/or alcohol treatment.
While an OVI is generally a misdemeanor crime in Ohio, three or more convictions of driving under the influence in a six year time span can turn the misdemeanor into a felony charge. The same holds true if a person has five or more convictions within twenty years.
Ohio DUI Statistics
Drunk driving, or driving while impaired with alcohol, has devastating consequences. Every 30 minutes a traffic fatality related to alcohol and driving occurs. Even more startling and frightening is that every two minutes a traffic injury occurs related to driving under the influence of alcohol.
Even with all the fines and jail time imposed on people caught driving while impaired with alcohol, nearly half of all the drivers arrested for driving while drunk are repeat offenders.
A third of people who have suspended licenses for driving while impaired by alcohol will keep on driving.
In Ohio alone, there will be approximately 400 alcohol-related deaths, 15,000 injuries and 20,000 alcohol-related crashes each year.
Ohio Insurance Options
In Ohio it is illegal to drive without insurance or other financial responsibility documents. A person with an OVI will find that their current driving insurance company may increase their rates or cancel or not renew their insurance policy. An OVI conviction or drivers license suspension means that the driver will get six points against their license. A physical control conviction will not result in points against a person’s license. Even if the insurance rates are increased, any convictions or points against a driver’s license is only valid for three years, so if there are no more problems related to the license in three years the rates should decline after that time.
Getting vehicle insurance after an OVI can be a difficult task. It is better to work with an independent insurance agent who can get rate information from more than one insurance company for comparison. The rates will be higher after an OVI conviction, but some auto insurance companies have programs that can help reduce the normally high rates after an OVI or traffic conviction. A company can decide to count the first OVI conviction as a regular traffic violation, so the impact on the car insurance rates is not as high.
There are insurance companies that will agree to put a black box in the car instead of increasing a person’s insurance rates. This black box will monitor a driver’s habits, speeds, time of driving, and other variables for six months to determine if the driver is operating the vehicle safely. There are also Defensive Driving programs that can result in discounts to insurance costs.
Comparative rates can be found online. A person seeking car insurance after an OVI can input their information and driving history and get quotes from several insurance companies. This is a quick and easy way to compare insurance options quotes side by side. Even though insurance options are available at a higher premium, the best advice is still to don’t drink and drive.
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