What Happens After You're Arrested For OVI?

If you've been arrested for OVI, things will move fast. Here's what you can expect to happen and how it will affect your case.

OVI Test

You will likely be required to take an OVI test at the scene, at a police station, or at a hospital. There are several different types of tests. These include breath, blood, urine, and field sobriety tests. A prosecutor will try to use the results of these different tests to prove that you are guilty of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

A police officer will have a lawful basis to ask you to take a breathalyzer test if they suspect you're drunk behind the wheel. If the officer sees signs of intoxication such as glassy eyes, slurring speech, erratic behavior, or slow responses, that establishes probable cause to order you to take the test.

If you refuse to take a test, it could result in your license being suspended, your arrest on additional charges, or it could be used as evidence that you're guilty.


After you're arrested, you'll be taken in front of a judge for an arraignment. During your arraignment, you'll be told what charges were filed against you. You will be asked to plead guilty or not guilty. You usually plead not guilty no matter what at this stage to keep your options open.

Your lawyer will then look into your case and explore a possible plea deal. If you wait to plead guilty until you have a plea deal, you may be able to negotiate for a better outcome.

 Criminal Penalties

If you're convicted of OVI, you face several criminal penalties. The first is that you will have a criminal conviction on your record. Most offenses are misdemeanors, but repeat offenses or offenses in which you injured someone could become felonies.

Your sentence may include a fine of several thousand dollars plus court costs. OVI convictions often come with mandatory jail time. This may range from a few days for a minor first offense to decades in prison if you seriously injured or killed someone.

 Civil Penalties

If you're convicted of OVI, you may lose your license for several months or longer. Since the burden of proof is lower for civil violations, you can possibly lose your license even if you were found not guilty of the criminal charges.

You may need to take several steps to restore your license, including taking driving classes and installing an ignition interlock device.

If you're facing an OVI, contact an OVI defense attorney today.