Legal BAC Limits in Ohio in 2023: How Much Alcohol Can You Drink and Drive?

Drink and drive laws in Ohio

In Ohio, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08% (80 ml of alcohol/100 ml of blood). An OVI (operating a vehicle while impaired) charge will be issued if the BAC exceeds 0.08%.

One to two standard alcoholic beverages are typically sufficient to meet or exceed the BAC limit of 0.08%. However, because BAC varies depending on a number of factors, including weight and gender, this amount should only be used as a general guideline.

Please be advised that this article aims to increase awareness about the drunk driving laws in Ohio. This website does not support drinking and driving in any jurisdiction.

In Ohio, there were 1,230 traffic fatalities in 2020, according to NHTSA statistics. Drivers with BAC levels of 0.08% or higher are involved in 36% of these traffic fatalities.

Between 2019 and 2022, there were 39,951 OVI-related crashes were recorded in Ohio. These collisions have resulted in 24,359 injuries (8% of all injuries in motor vehicle accidents) and 2,002 deaths (54% of all motor vehicle deaths) occurred during this period.

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or under the influence (DUI), or OVI should be avoided as much as possible. If you must drive after drinking, you may take a cab, Uber, or hire a designated driver service.

The state of Ohio has DUI laws in place to prevent OVI-related incidents. If you plan to drive after consuming alcohol, you must check your blood alcohol level before getting behind the wheel. An alcohol breathalyzer can ensure that your BAC is within Ohio’s legal limits.

We recommend visiting the official website of Ohio for the most up-to-date information on DUI driving laws and regulations.

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in Ohio

Drinking alcohol can impair your judgment by slowing your reaction time, obstructing your vision, altering your perception of distance and speed, and slowing your reaction time.

These things can happen even if you don’t appear or feel drunk. Alcohol consumption symptoms can occur as soon as you take your first drink.

Alcohol enters your system within 30 minutes to 2 hours. You may experience a slowing of your breathing and difficulty thinking clearly.

Despite the state’s legal BAC limit being 0.08%, keep in mind that everyone’s body reacts differently to alcohol.

The following factors may affect your blood alcohol level:

  • weight,
  • gender,
  • levels of anxiety and exhaustion
  • an empty stomach,
  • alcohol consumption level, and
  • taking prescribed medication.

Some individuals may pass out after drinking a few bottles or glasses of alcohol. Even if they appear normal at first, some may be unable to drive. As a result, knowing your BAC before driving is critical.

A BAC calculator and chart can help you figure out how much alcohol you can drink before driving. Because everyone reacts differently to alcohol, these tools may not be suitable for everyone.

The most efficient way to know your BAC is to use a certified alcohol breathalyzer.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in Ohio

The level of alcohol impairment depends on a person’s blood alcohol content. A blood alcohol concentration of 0.010% to 0.029% may not cause obvious impairment. Individuals with this level of BAC appear to be normal. However, as BAC levels rise, the signs of alcohol-related impairment become more visible.

DUI laws differ from one state to the next. Check your blood alcohol level before driving to avoid consequences.

A DUI conviction may have legal and financial repercussions. The DUI or OVI penalties in Ohio are listed below.

Offense Jail Time Fines License Suspension
First Offense At least three (3) days up to six (6) months in jail $375 to $1,075 Up to three (3) years of suspension
Second Offense Minimum of ten (10) days up to six (6) months of imprisonment $525 to $1,625 Up to seven (7) years suspension of license
Third Offense Minimum of 30 days to a maximum of one (1) year in jail $850 to $2,750 Up to 12 years license suspension

Ignition Interlock and Restricted Driving Privileges

Depending on the circumstances of the OVI, an offender may be granted limited driving privileges after serving a portion of the driver’s license suspension period.

This limited driving privilege is only for specific purposes, such as driving to and from work, school, a medical appointment, or court-ordered treatment. In most cases, granting restricted driving privileges necessitates the use of an ignition interlock device.

Community Control Punishment

The judge can reduce an offender’s prison sentence by ordering involvement in the “Community Control Sanction,” which requires the offender to complete a treatment program. The offender must also undergo the following penalties:

  • First OVI Offense: At least three days in a driver intervention program.
  • Second OVI Offense: Five days imprisonment, 18 days house arrest, and alcohol electronic monitoring
  • Third OVI Offense: Fifteen days imprisonment, 55 days house arrest, and alcohol electronic monitoring.

Drug and Alcohol Treatment

To help prevent future violations, a judge commonly includes substance abuse treatment as part of the OVI sentence.

Treatment is not required for first-time offenders, but second-time offenders must undergo a substance abuse assessment. The judge can then order whatever treatment the assessment indicates is necessary. Third-time offenders must attend community addiction services and complete all recommended treatments.

Ohio’s Implied Consent Law

All drivers who are legitimately arrested for driving or physically controlling a vehicle while impaired are presumed to have consented to a blood, breath, or urine test to detect the presence of alcohol or drugs.

Drivers who illicitly refuse testing will be issued a suspension notice. The number of prior OVI convictions and test refusals determines the length of the suspension.

  • First Refusal: One year
  • Second Refusal: Two years
  • Third Refusal: Three years

When Can You Drink and Drive in Ohio?

Blood alcohol content can vary based on a person’s gender and other factors. According to research, men and women have different BAC levels.

Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) levels in men are significantly higher than in women. The ADH enzymes regulate alcohol metabolism. As a result, men process alcohol faster than women.

You may refer to the information below to know how much alcohol you can drink before driving in Ohio.

Although studies back up the data below, you should be aware that it may not be helpful or appropriate for everyone.

How Many Bottles of Beers Can You Drink and Drive in Ohio?

Drink beer and drive in Ohio

According to BAC charts, a lighter person may have a higher BAC.

A 12-ounce (350 ml) beer can result in a BAC of 0.02% for a 180-pound male (82 kilograms).

A woman of equal weight and alcohol intake may have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.03%.

If you have to drive later, limit your consumption of beer to one to two bottles.

How Many Glasses of Wine Can You Consume and Drive in Ohio?

A typical 5 oz (142 ml) glass of wine has an ABV of 12%.

As the preceding example shows, a 180-pound male can have a BAC of 0.02% after consuming one glass of wine. In contrast, a female of the same weight and level of alcohol consumption could have a BAC as high as 0.03%.

If you intend to drive after drinking, one to two glasses of wine should suffice.

How Much Whiskey or Vodka Can You Drink and Drive in Ohio?

The ABV of distilled spirits such as vodka and whiskey is 40%.

If you need to drive after, limit yourself to one or two shots of whiskey or vodka.

Sticking to DUI Laws in Ohio

There are several myths about how alcohol affects driving. Everyone on the road should be aware of the dangers of drunk driving and take all necessary precautions to avoid it.

It is dangerous to drive while intoxicated or high. If you are drunk, you may lose control of yourself and your vehicle.

If you are drunk, you should not drive. Don’t be too sure of your blood alcohol level and driving abilities, even if you’ve only had a few alcoholic beverages. Instead of driving, consider other modes of transportation.

If you plan to drive after drinking, ensure your blood alcohol level is less than Ohio’s legal limit. A reliable alcohol breathalyzer can precisely measure your blood alcohol content.

To stay informed about DUI laws in Ohio, visit the state’s official website.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.