What is OVI / DUI?

Drunk driving, impaired driving, OVI, OMVI, DUI, and DWI are interchangeable in Ohio. The official acronym or term is “OVI.” In 2004, the Ohio legislature invented the term “Operating a Vehicle (while under the) Influence,” or OVI, as the general term. Ohio Lawyers tend to use the term DUI most of the time, instead of OVI, as DUI is a more universal term. Additionally, OVUAC (or OMVUAC) is a legally distinct term used for certain OVI charges that apply to those less than age 21.

When are you committing OVI/DUI?

Under Ohio Law a person commits OVI or DUI when they “operate” a vehicle while under the influence of an illegal substance or while over the legal blood-alcohol limit. Ohio law defines operate as an act “to cause or have caused movement” of the vehicle.

What is considered a “Vehicle”?

Under Ohio law, “vehicle” means every device, including a motorized bicycle, in, upon, or by which any person or property may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except that “vehicle” does not include any motorized wheelchair, any electric personal assistive mobility device, any device that is moved by power collected from overhead electric trolley wires or that is used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks, or any device, other than a bicycle, that is moved by human power.

“Motor vehicle” means every vehicle propelled or drawn by power other than muscular power or power collected from overhead electric trolley wires, except motorized bicycles, road rollers, traction engines, power shovels, power cranes, and other equipment used in construction work and not designed for or employed in general highway transportation, hole-digging machinery, well-drilling machinery, ditch-digging machinery, farm machinery, and trailers designed and used exclusively to transport a boat between a place of storage and a marina, or in and around a marina, when drawn or towed on a street or highway for a distance of no more than ten miles and at a speed of twenty-five miles per hour or less.

Further, Ohio law prohibits operation of the vehicle while intoxicated to boundaries “within this state” whether on a road or not.