Difference Between OVI and DUI

In recent years, drinking and driving have become the leading cause of traffic accidents. If a person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may face various charges.


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These are often identified by the abbreviations DUI and OVI. It is critical to understand what these terms signify and how the penalties vary considerably.


The difference between OVI and DUI is that OVI is an abbreviation for operating a vehicle while impaired, whereas DUI is an acronym for driving under the influence. Furthermore, unlike a DUI, an OVI can be tried even if the person is not driving the car. They can be charged even if they are merely seated in a parked or in an inactive automobile and are proven to be intoxicated.


OVI is an abbreviation for ‘operating a vehicle impaired.’ The Ohio State Legislature has consolidated various acronyms for impaired driving into a single defining phrase, OVI.

It is a larger category that encompasses drunkenness from alcohol as well as any impairment caused by illicit drugs, prescription medicines, or over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. You might be charged with an OVI based solely on your actions.

DUI refers to the offense of driving, controlling, or overseeing a vehicle when intoxicated with either alcohol or drugs to the point that the operator is incompetent of functioning a motorized vehicle safely.

A DUI is a misdemeanor, but it can still be upgraded to a felony if the automobile collision causes destruction of property or casualties.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonOVIDUI
Full-FormOperating a vehicle impairedDriving under the influence  
Year of Introduction20041910
Charging CriteriaBAC varies on the basis of type of driver and ageBAC to be 0.08 percent
ApplicabilityRecognized in the state of OhioRecognized all around the world
Conviction on recordAlmost forever3-5 years

What is OVI?

The DUI and DWI abbreviations are no longer being actively used in Ohio law since, in 1982, the state passed a statute that pertains to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol as “OMVI,” an abbreviation for Operating a Motor vehicle Impaired.

Because a recent amendment in Ohio law eliminated the need that a vehicle be “motorized,” the new abbreviation for driving while under the influence is “OVI” (Operating a Vehicle Impaired).

Operating practically any vehicle while inebriated is now a crime in Ohio.

In a broad sense, you’ll be charged with OVI when you’re accused of having a BAC of 0.08 percent or a urine alcohol concentration of 0.1 percent or higher while physically present in the vehicle.

For commercial vehicles, this is reduced to 0.04, and for operators under the age of 21 to 0.02.

It is not essential to have been driving the vehicle or even to have sat with it running when parked. If you are discovered in the driver’s seat of a car with the keys in your possession, your lawyer would need to represent you against such an OVI allegation.

An OVI penalty may be lowered in certain circumstances if the motorist has no past drinking and driving record, their BAC is borderline unlawful, and no accident happened.

OVI offenses will remain as a stain on your driving history in Ohio, and they cannot be sealed or removed. These convictions are practically permanent on your records.

Basically, any past OVI conviction within the last 10 years will be deemed a prior offense if you are accused of OVI.

What is DUI?

The offense of driving, administering, or being in control of a car while inebriated by alcohol or other drugs is known as driving under the influence (DUI) (including illicit substances and those administering medications) to the point where the driver is unsuitable for safely getting behind the wheel.

Prescription drugs, such as antidepressants, can produce drowsiness. It is claimed that the usage of impairing prescription medicines has had a significant role in the rise in DUI accidents 

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is one of the most significant risk factors that lead to fatal accidents. A DUI arrest may cost a lot of money in terms of legal expenses, penalties, legal bills, electronic monitoring devices, and DMV service charges.

When charged with DUI, you face consequences such as jail time, fines, license suspension, and other DUI-related charges. The DUI charge also implies that the police examined if the motorist displayed any abnormal behavior as a result of alcohol usage.

It generally includes some form of DUI chemical test. If the state can establish beyond a shadow of a doubt that you drove while inebriated, you can be prosecuted for DUI.

Finally, in many implied consent states, you are deemed to have consented to BAC chemical testing. If you decline, you might face penalties such as a one-year license suspension.

Your DUI attorney, on the other hand, maybe able to alter this license suspension and get you driving privileges for employment and other important activities.

Main Differences Between OVI and DUI

  1. OVI stands for operating a vehicle impaired meanwhile DUI stands for driving under the influence.
  2. OVI was introduced in 2004, whereas DUI was enacted in 1910
  3. In terms of charging criteria, for OVI it varies on the basis of age and whether the driver is commercial or not and that they were physically in the vehicle at the time, meanwhile a person is charged with DUI if they are alleged to have a BAC of 0.08 percent, and that the driver is incapable of operating a vehicle
  4. OVI is applicable in the state of Ohio as an alternative term for DUI, whereas the term DUI functions all around the world.
  5. OVI conviction stays almost forever on an individual’s record meanwhile DUI convictions in major parts of the world stays on the record for 3-5 years.


  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/clevslr59&section=34
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Bo1hDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=ovi+and+dui+&ots=bLtwl68804&sig=xYQLg2jHE7fvACZz9be-paddZac
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