OVI vs DUI: Difference and Comparison

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.

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

Key Takeaways

  1. OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired) and DUI (Driving Under the Influence) are terms used to describe the offense of driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs.
  2. OVI is a term specific to Ohio, while DUI is more widely used across the United States.
  3. OVI and DUI carry similar legal penalties, including fines, license suspension, and possible imprisonment.


OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired) is a criminal offence where an individual operates a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is a criminal offence when a person uses a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


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.


Law Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to law

1 / 10

Another requisite of law is the existence of a/n

2 / 10

A sells, by auction, to B a horse that A knows to be unsound. A says nothing to B about the horse's unsoundness. A does

3 / 10

In “Promissory note” and a “bill of exchange” how many parties involved?

4 / 10

What type of law involves disputes between private parties?

5 / 10

What is the name of the organization established by the United Nations in 1945 to promote peace, security, and cooperation among nations?

6 / 10

Evidence under the Evidence Act means and includes?

7 / 10

An offer made through _________ is accepted from the time acceptance is communicated to him

8 / 10

What type of law governs the enforcement of contracts?

9 / 10

What is the name of the international treaty that provides a framework for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms?

10 / 10

What is the name of the amendment to the US Constitution that guarantees the right to bear arms?

Your score is


It is a larger category that encompasses drunkenness from alcohol and 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 offence of driving, controlling, or overseeing a vehicle when intoxicated with either alcohol or drugs to the point that the operator is incompetent to function a motorized vehicle safely.

A DUI is a misdemeanour, but it can still be upgraded to a felony if the automobile collision destroys property or casualties.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonOVIDUI
Full-FormOperating a vehicle impairedDriving under the influence  
Year of Introduction20041910
Charging CriteriaBAC to be 0.08 per centBAC 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 intoxicated 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 per cent or a urine alcohol concentration of 0.1 per cent or higher while physically 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 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 offences will remain a stain on your driving history in Ohio and cannot be sealed or removed. These convictions are practically permanent on your records.

Any past OVI conviction within the last ten years will be deemed a prior offence if you are accused of OVI.

What is DUI?

The offence 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 impairing prescription medicines have 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 behaviour due to 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.

Conversely, your DUI attorney may be able to alter this license suspension and get you driving privileges for employment and other essential 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 based on 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 per cent, 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 time DUI functions all around the world.
  5. OVI conviction stays almost forever on an individual’s record; meanwhile, DUI convictions in significant parts of the world stay on the roster 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
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!

Ads Blocker Image Powered by Code Help Pro

Ads Blocker Detected!!!

We have detected that you are using extensions to block ads. Please support us by disabling these ads blocker.