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Like all other states, Ohio has outlawed driving under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances or anything else that would impair a driver's ability to safely operate his vehicle. State laws impose criminal and regulatory penalties for anyone who drives or otherwise operates a vehicle while impaired.
- The state of Ohio imposes criminal penalties on anyone convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicants that impair their ability to drive. These include, but are not limited to, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, phencyclidine and LSD. For alcohol, Ohio has a "per se" rule, meaning that anyone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or higher is legally intoxicated, whether or not their behavior exhibits signs of impairment. Further, anyone under the age of 21 who has any blood alcohol content (a reading greater than .00) is also deemed legally intoxicated.
- Anyone found intoxicated, while driving, faces criminal penalties that range from fines and probation to jail time. The severity of the punishment is generally dependent on a number of factors, including the person's prior criminal record, the severity of the intoxication, age, and whether or not the offender has had prior convictions for driving while impaired. For example, a first time offender with no prior record with a BAC of .08 might receive a sentence of probation and a fine while those convicted of a fourth DUI may have to serve at least 60 days in the local jail and pay a fine of up to $10,000.
- Driving, while impaired in Ohio, also brings with it driver's license suspensions. Any driver convicted of driving while impaired, or who refuses to take a blood alcohol or drug test as ordered by a law enforcement officer, can have her driving privileges suspended for at least 30 days, and for as much as three years or even life if there are prior convictions. For a first time conviction, the driver's license is generally suspended for 90 days. The court may also require an immobilizing device installed on the offender's car that must register an acceptable BAC level before starting the vehicle. Being convicted of a third or fourth DUI will result in a two or three year suspension respectively, as well as mandatory installation of an immobilizing device.