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Types of OVI Felonies in Ohio

Due to Ohio’s punitive stance on OVI crimes, it can be easy to think that all such crimes are felonies with serious consequences. However, this is not true. Although the penalties can still be severe, most OVI offenses are misdemeanors of varying degrees, especially if it is your first or second offense and no bodily harm or other significant harm was caused.

OVI felony convictions are reserved for repeat offenders and those offenders whose OVI violations caused other criminal harm. If your OVI is related to any of the following crimes, you are facing a misdemeanor charge, not a felony:

• First OVI

• Second IMO

• First OVI with high BAC

• Second OVI with high BAC

• Physical control OVI

• Reckless driving

• Minors OVI or OVUAC

• OVI hit and ran with minor damage

You can verify this information in Chapter 4511 of the Ohio Revised Code, although some felony charges are addressed in other sections. If you cannot locate your particular crime or the circumstances of the case, you may be facing a felony. An experienced Columbus OVI attorney will be able to sort through the details of your case, explain the charges against you, and show you your defense options.

The most common scenario for an OVI felony charge in Ohio is when a repeat DUI offender is arrested for a subsequent OVI offense. If you are convicted of three or more DUIs within six years, it is a fourth degree felony. This charge comes with serious penalties, including:

• A fine of up to $5,000

• Up to 18 months in prison

• 30 days mandatory jail

• Three year administrative license suspension

• OVI yellow plates

• Ignition lock device

The other OVI felonies in Ohio involve damage, serious bodily injury, or the death of another party. The degree of these crimes depends largely on whether the defendant has a history, especially a history of OVI, and how serious the damages are. A defender in these felony cases will likely have to consider a civil case as well. The following are definitions of other serious DUI offenses in Ohio.

Hit and Run – Also known as a hit and skip, an OVI violator can be charged with this offense if they fail to stop and give their name, address, vehicle registration number and/or the name and address of the owner of the vehicle if he or she is not an owner. This crime is a felony if the individual caused serious bodily injury or death before leaving the scene.

Aggravated Vehicular Assault – This offense is defined in ORC 2903.08 and occurs when an OVI offender causes serious bodily injury to another person or the unborn child.

Aggravated Vehicular Homicide – This crime is covered by ORC 2903.06 and occurs when a DUI offender causes the death of another person or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy.

The most punitive of these crimes is a first degree felony, with up to 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine, and a lifetime driver’s license suspension. An OVI felony is something not to be trifled with; however, your OVI charge is likely to be a misdemeanor. If you are unsure, consult an Ohio criminal defense attorney.

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