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Traveling to Canada with an OVI

If you have been charged for operating a vehicle while impaired in Ohio, you will probably be aware of the acronym OVI. OVI, which stands for Operating a Vehicle Impaired, was introduced in Ohio to describe a more general class of offense. Previously, the acronym used was DUI or Driving Under the Influence. The DUI charge is still used in many states. However, to better account for any type of vehicle that could be operated while impaired, Ohio state switched from the DUI to the OVI acronym. Basically, a DUI in Ohio is now called an OVI. Furthermore, a vehicle under this legislation doesn't have to be motorized. For example, a bicycle or a horse-drawn carriage would qualify as a vehicle under an OVI charge.

Because and OVI is essentially a DUI with broader criteria for what constitutes a vehicle, it is treated as an indictable offense in Canada. This means that if you have an OVI arrest or conviction on record, you will require special permission to enter Canada through the border or a port of entry. Like other driving while intoxicated charges, you will have to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation before attempting to travel to Canada.

Now that Canada Border Service Agency officers have access to more detailed American criminal records than ever before, the likelihood of being detected at the border or port of entry is much higher. CBSA officers now use a system called Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC) which contains FBI as well as state databases.

If you have an Ohio OVI arrest or conviction, consult with our team of Canadian immigration lawyers and consultants today.

What are the Penalties for an Ohio OVI?

Let's break down the typical OVI penalties by the number of offenses.

1st offense OVI

A common set of penalties for a first time OVI conviction might include: a license suspension from 6 months to 3 years, a fine ranging from $250 to $1000 USD, and serving from 3 days to 6 months in jail. A special option offered to some first time offenders would be participation in a 72 hour Ohio Driver Intervention Program (DIP) instead of serving jail time.

Often first time OVI offenders are offered a "community control" sentencing package from the prosecutor which involves 2 years of probation and a suspended sentence.

2nd offense OVI

A common set of penalties for a second time OVI conviction might include: a license suspension from 1 to 5 years, a fine ranging from $350 to $1500, and serving from 10 days to 12 months in jail.

3rd offense OVI

A common set of penalties for a third time OVI conviction might include: mandatory installation of a breath alcohol Ingition Interlock Device (IID) in the offender's vehicle, a fine ranging from $350 to $1500, serving from 30 days to 12 months of imprisonment, and also a minimum of 1 year of jail up to a maximum of 10 years.

4th offense OVI

A common set of penalties for a fourth time OVI conviction might include: a license suspension from 3 years to permanently, mandatory installation of an IID in the offender's vehicle, a fine ranging from $800 to $10000, and incarceration from 2 to 12 months.

What is the Legal Limit for an OVI in Ohio?

There are more specific charges in Ohio related to the offender's age and blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of arrest. The most common scenario isfor offenders that are 21 or older. If you test for a BAC of .08%, you can be charged with an OVI. Even if you are less than 21 and have a BAC of .08% or higher, you will also be charged with an OVI.

However, offenders under the age of 21 who test between .02% and .08% BAC will be charged with an underage DUI, referred to as Operating a Vehicle After Underage Consumption (OVAUC).

There are also special conditions in place for offenders with commercial driver's licenses. This could include truck drivers, taxi drivers, or bus drivers. In this case, the legal limit for being charged with an OVI is .04%

Whatever the specific charge, the fact remains that any form of an OVI is treated as a criminal inadmissibility to Canada. Our legal team has helped many residents of Ohio successfully overcome their OVI inadmissibility and enter Canada at a border or port of entry. Whether you are from Columbus or Canton, they have knowledge of Ohio state law and have dealt with OVI records at the county level.