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When does an OVI become a felony in Ohio?

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2024 | OVI

In Ohio, an OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired) charge can escalate from a misdemeanor to a felony under certain conditions. Understanding these conditions is useful for anyone facing OVI charges.

Multiple OVI offenses

An OVI becomes a felony if you have three or more OVI convictions within the past ten years. The state considers repeated offenses a serious threat to public safety, leading to harsher penalties.

High BAC levels

If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is significantly above the legal limit of 0.08%, this can contribute to felony charges. A BAC level of 0.17% or higher indicates a higher degree of impairment, which may lead to felony charges, especially if it’s not your first offense.

Aggravating factors

Certain aggravating factors can also elevate an OVI to a felony. These include causing serious injury or death while operating a vehicle impaired, so if you cause an accident that results in serious harm or fatalities, the charges will likely be more severe.

Driving with a suspended license

Impaired driving while authorities have suspended or revoked your driver’s license for a previous OVI offense can lead to felony charges.

Child endangerment

Having a minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense can escalate the OVI charge to a felony. Ohio law takes child endangerment very seriously, leading to harsher consequences.

Understanding the seriousness of felony OVIs

Felony OVI charges carry significant consequences, including longer jail sentences, higher fines, and a longer impact on your driving record.

Navigating OVI laws in Ohio

Knowing when an OVI becomes a felony in Ohio helps you navigate the legal system better. Stay informed about the factors that can influence the severity of your charges to better protect your rights.

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