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ODPS Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles OVI Law Changes - Frequently Asked Questions

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Can I refuse a sobriety test if I am requested to do so by law enforcement?

If you have had two or more OVI/OMWI (or equivalent offense) convictions, you can no longer refuse an alcohol or drug test. Senate Bill 17 requires a law enforcement officer to obtain a chemical alcohol or drug test by "whatever reasonable means are necessary," from offenders who have previously pleaded guilty or been convicted of two or more violations.

What constitutes "reasonable means?"

The statute does not define "reasonable means." However, the officer no longer needs to obtain a warrant to require the offender to submit to the alcohol test.

What are "OVI/OMWI or equivalent offenses?"

Senate Bill 17 makes OVI and OMWI offenses equivalent, as well as equivalent to other offenses. This applies for the purposes of determining whether an individual can refuse the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) tests administered by law enforcement. This is a list of abbreviations and offenses considered "equivalent" to OVI/OMWI:
OVI: Operating a Vehicle under the Influence of Alcohol
OMWI: Operating a Motor Watercraft under the Influence of Alcohol
Equivalent Offenses:
     Vehicular Homicide
     Driving under the Influence of Drugs/Opiates
     DUI Municipal
     Vehicular Assault
     Vehicular Homicide
     Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (not alcohol related)
     Aggravated Vehicular Assault w/Alcohol
     Aggravated Vehicular Homicide w/Alcohol
     Vehicular Manslaughter
     Involuntary Manslaughter w/Alcohol
     OVUAC: Operating a Vehicle with Alcohol Consumption
     OVI Felony
     Physical Control
     OVI Refusal
     CDL OVI (BAC .04 or higher)

Did Senate Bill 17 change reinstatement fees?

Yes - reinstatement fees increased by $50. As of September 30, 2008, reinstatement fees increased from $425 to $475. The additional $50 will be distributed to indigent drivers' alcohol treatment funds.

I have had a previous refusal or OVI, how long is my suspension period?

1 previous violation or refusal = 2 years
2 previous violations, or 1 violation and 1 refusal = 3 years
3 or more previous violations or any combination of 3 violations and refusals = 5 years

I have an immobilization order, but my family relies on my vehicle. How can I obtain permission for them to drive my vehicle?

An immobilization waiver may be ordered by the court to a family that is perceived to have undue hardship as a result of an immobilization order. You must contact the court to obtain a hardship waiver.