When driving in Ohio and Northern Kentucky, people who might have gotten behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or using drugs – prescription or not – should know that there is the chance they will be arrested for driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence. Kentucky uses the acronym DWI or DUI while Ohio refers to it as OVI (operating a vehicle impaired). The penalties for these allegations can be severe if there is a conviction. With that, there are key facts that the driver should know from the outset. Although it might not be the primary concern immediately after the arrest, those accused should think about how quickly they should call for legal representation from the time they are taken into custody.


In Kentucky, there are myriad factors that are considered when there is DWI/DUI. For example, if it is a first offense, the driver will need to take part in an alcohol or substance abuse program for 90 days and there will be a driver’s license suspension of six months. For a second offense within 10 years of the first, the treatment program is for one year and the suspension is for 18 months. The penalties escalate accordingly. There can also be a prison sentence from two days to 30 days.

Ohio has its own laws to dispense penalties for those convicted of OVI. A conviction will result in a 90-day driver’s license suspension. Depending on the level of alcohol in the person’s blood, the penalties will increase. There can be fines, jail time, the requirement to put an ignition interlock device on the vehicle, the need to take part in a program to address alcohol and substance issues and more.


Losing one’s driving privileges can cause problems personally and professionally. In addition, a DUI/DWI or OVI on the record could hinder a person’s future. Whenever a person is arrested, it might be in the back of their mind that they are not obligated to say anything to the arresting officer during a criminal law investigation. This stems from repeated entertainment programs and news that clearly details a person’s rights.

In the heat of the moment following an arrest, however, it is easy to forget those rights and try to be agreeable with the officer to curry favor. This may make the situation worse. It can be confusing to know what a person can and cannot do. For example, refusing a breath test is a legal violation by itself and can lead to separate charges. As soon as the driver is given the opportunity to make a phone call, contacting a legal professional to begin the process of assessing the case, analyzing the evidence and formulating a plan to craft a defense is essential.