in Criminal Law Last updated May 21, 2018

The terms, driving under the influence (DUI) and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI) are often used interchangeably. Both terms referred to a similar state, which is operating a vehicle while being under influence of alcohol or drugs. Some state laws will include both and carry different punishments for each. In many states, vehicles do not have to be motorized to be charged with OVI. Ohio has decided to put stricter laws in place that position all DUI charges under the OVI umbrella. Ohio also put a mandatory BAC test in place to determine the severity of punishment in each case.

Know The Difference

In each application, the term OVI has a wider interpretation because it also applies to some accidents at work. In some states, operating a vehicle impaired is not limited to vehicles on the road, it can also apply to other situations, but driving under the influence is limited to incidents on the road. In other states, DUI and OVI are seen as the same and carry the same punishments.

Different Punishments?

In most cases, the difference between the two penalties is very small. For a first offence, the offender will receive a minimum of three days in jail, have their license suspended and pay a hefty fine. For an OVI charge, the tests results will assist in determining the severity of the punishment. If the BAC result is higher than 0.17, this person will receive a much more severe punishment, even though it is their first offense.

In general, both first-time offenses for OVI and DUI are both enforced as a misdemeanor. This might change based on the BAC test results and if there were any victims that were injured or killed during the incident. As always, understanding these laws are important, but more importantly, we must be responsible citizens when sharing the road with others.  


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