Ohio DUI 101

Ohio DUI laws are in place to keep reckless and intoxicated drivers off the road in the Buckeye State.

Ohio DUI Levels

Drivers under the age of 21 can be considered legally drunk if their blood alcohol level matches or exceeds .02 percent. Drivers aged 21 and over have slightly more leeway; they are not considered legally drunk unless their blood alcohol level is at or above .08. Commercial drivers, such as individuals behind the wheels of delivery trucks, are legally drunk if their blood alcohol level is .04 or higher. With these legal limits in mind, it’s often best to simply avoiding drinking and driving altogether, no matter how sparse the amount of alcohol.


A first-time Ohio DUI offender may spend up to six months in jail. In addition, a fine ranging from $250 to $1,000 may be set and the driver’s license may be suspended from anywhere between six months to three years, depending on the severity of the offense.

If the driver breaks the same laws within six years of the prior incident, an additional six months of jail may be imposed and the driver’s license will be taken away for one to five years. Another fine, this time ranging between $350 and $1,500, will also be set.

A third offense within six years of the past penalties will bring even more consequences. A fine ranging between $500 and $2,500 will accompany up to one year in jail and a license suspension of two to 10 years.

Further offenses within six years may result in five years in prison, a fine of $800 to $10,000, and license suspension ranging from three years to life.

Special laws are also in place for underage drivers driving under the influence. The first offense is a fourth-degree misdemeanor, which can result in up to 30 days in jail, a $250 fine and a suspended license for up to two years.

Underage drivers committing a second offense within a year of the first offense may be responsible for a third-degree misdemeanor. This misdemeanor may result in a $500 fine, 60 days in jail and a license suspension of up to five years.

Commercial drivers, who are often responsible for valuable or hazardous cargo, may lose their ability to drive commercial vehicles for a year or more if they are found guilty of driving under the influence. A second offense may disqualify the driver from ever driving a commercial vehicle again.

Restricted Licenses

Individuals who have had their licenses suspended due to violated DUI laws can request a restricted license plate.

An application for this type of license can be obtained from theĀ Ohio Department of Public Safety Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

DUI Programs

DUI offenders may be able to enroll in a 72-hour DUI program, rather than spend time in jail. In more severe cases, both jail time and enrollment in a DUI program may be required. Some examples of DUI programs in the state include the Mount Carmel Behavioral Healthcare Driver Intervention Program and the Wellness Group Driver Intervention Program. The price of these programs may exceed $300, so this will only add to the cost of fines for breaking Ohio DUI laws.