DUI…DWI…These are terms understood by most people across the country. If you happen to be living in or traveling through Ohio, however, there is another acronym you may come across: OVI. Minnillo & Jenkins cares about protecting the legal rights of Hamilton County citizens and keeping them informed, so in today’s article, we will be discussing the true meaning behind the term “OVI.” If you find yourself arrested and charged with OVI, make sure you find a lawyer that has the experience and dedication to truly help you. Contact Minnillo & Jenkins today for the best OVI lawyers in the Cincinnati area!


“DUI” is an acronym most people understand: driving under the influence. That is, in effect, almost exactly what OVI means as well. OVI is simply Ohio’s term for driving under the influence. It was coined when a law was passed meant to prosecute anyone “operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.” If you are charged with an OVI, it’s a serious offense, and a lack of understanding about what the term means won’t excuse your behavior. The best way to prevent any run-ins with police is to understand the meaning behind an OVI and ensure that your actions don’t put you in the position to be charged.

Defining the Terms


Ohio’s acronym for driving under the influence was originally “OMVI,” meaning operating a motor vehicle under the influence. It became OVI because the charge is no longer limited to those who operate a motorized vehicle. You can now be charged with an OVI even when you are operating a vehicle other than a car, which includes bicycles and horse-drawn carriages. Remember the phrase “better safe than sorry” before you operate a vehicle when you are possibly impaired, and make sure that you understand your rights and responsibilities before hitting the road.


“Drunk driving” seems like a pretty clear term, but do you know what the legal limits are on drinking before you are considered impaired? If you are over 21, you will be considered impaired if the concentration of alcohol in your blood or breath is more than .08. There are other, more exacting limits for tests done on other fluids, like urine, that you can investigate if relevant. If you are under 21, the limits are far more strict. You would legally be considered impaired if your breath or blood alcohol concentration is more than .02, which means that even light drinking could come with big consequences.


Driving under the influence covers more than just drunk driving. The use of drugs can also impair your driving, and the definition of “drugs” is likely far more broad than you might imagine. Drugs that may render you impaired include:

  • Prescription medications
  • Schedule V controlled substances
  • Injection drugs
  • Over-the-counter medication taken in excess

Even drugs that you legally bought or were prescribed to you can impair your ability to drive safely. Be wary of operating a vehicle if you have taken any medications that list drowsiness as a side effect or specifically warn against operating a vehicle.

In conclusion, an OVI is simply a term for a DUI specific to the state of Ohio. You can be charged if you are operating a vehicle – motorized or not – under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Want to learn more? Watch this blog for more upcoming articles about OVIs, the consequences, and the legal process.

If you or someone you care about has been charged with an OVI, find legal representation you can trust. Minnillo & Jenkins is a team of attorneys ready to help achieve the best possible outcome in your case, and we have specialized OVI lawyers here for you. Contact Minnillo & Jenkins today to get started!

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