What is the Difference Between a DUI, a DWI, and an OVI?

April '21 Blog

Driving while impaired is dangerous. Even if you don’t hurt yourself or others, you risk serious legal consequences and jeopardize your ability to legally drive. In Ohio, impaired driving is known as Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs or OVI.  Other states define impaired driving with slightly different terms – DUI, or DWI.  At O’Leary Law Office no one will misunderstand you when you seek legal help for your OVI, DUI or DWI charge.

What is a DUI?

A DUI, also known as Driving Under the Influence, is the most common term for inebriated driving in the United States. It refers to an individual who has been driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  While it is the most common name nationally, the term DUI is no longer used in the state of Ohio. 

What is a DWI?

A DWI, also known as Driving While Impaired, is functionally synonymous with a DUI. It, too, refers to a person who has been driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  The term DWI has been phased out of Ohio’s legal lexicon. 

What is an OVI?

An OVI, also known as Operating a Vehicle under the Influence, has been the official legal term in the state of Ohio for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol since 2004.  There are two distinct types of OVI charges.  Each depends on the type of evidence used to prove a person’s impairment.  The most well known type of OVI is often referred to as a per se offense.  The type of evidence used to prove impairment in this type of OVI could be a blood, breath or urine test result (typically referred to as a person’s BAC).  In Ohio, the breath alcohol concentration limit or legal limit is .08.  The other type of OVI is usually referred to as an impaired driving offense.  The type of evidence that will be used against you in this type of OVI is the sum of the officer’s observations and conclusions about your impairment without reference to any test result.    

While an OVI charge is usually a misdemeanor offense, under some circumstances it can become a felony charge. Additionally, OVIs are not just limited to cars. You can be charged with an OVI if you’re operating any vehicle, from a bicycle to a horse-drawn carriage. In some instances, people who are merely occupying the driver seat of an idling vehicle have been charged with an OVI.

What can a Circleville DUI, DWI, and OVI attorney do for you?

Being charged with an OVI can be overwhelming. From the risk of losing your license, to the potential harm it causes, there are a lot of things to worry about. Fortunately, O’Leary Law Office can help. Our Circleville OVI attorney works with you to understand your options, and pursue what is most important to you. If you’ve been charged with an OVI in Circleville, contact O’Leary Law Office today