Skip to Main Content

Courts and Sports: What the heck is OVI?

J.T. Barrett

Ohio State confirmed J.T. Barrett’s misdemeanor offense for OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired / Intoxicated). As he was underage, he could have been OVI with as little as a .02 BAL. However, he was over .08, which is the standard for those over 21. As a result, the OSU quarterback has been suspended by head coach Urban Meyer for the Minnesota game next Saturday. Athletic Director Gene Smith said since it is only a misdemeanor, Barrett is not subject to the mandatory two-week suspension. Smith said ongoing eligibility is up to the discretion of Meyer.

According to the Columbus Police Department, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was arrested for operating a motor vehicle while impaired (OVI) early Saturday morning near campus. Barrett, 20, was arrested just north of campus after police noticed he attempted to avoid an OVI checkpoint in the area. Per CPD sources, Barrett was cooperative and blew into a breathalyzer, registering slightly over Ohio’s legal limit of 0.08 blood-alcohol concentration. The quarterback was allegedly released to his teammate, fellow quarterback Cardale Jones, who provided Barrett a ride home.

The full statement:

Ohio State University student-athlete J.T. Barrett was cited by Columbus police Saturday morning at a campus area check point with a misdemeanor offense of OVI. Barrett has been suspended by head coach Urban Meyer from playing in Ohio State’s game against Minnesota on Nov. 7.

Alphabet Soup – DUI / DWI / OMVI / OVI

The acronyms DUI (Driving Under the Influence), DWI (Driving While Impaired / Intoxicated), OMVI (Operating a Motor Vehicle While Impaired / Intoxicated) and OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired / Intoxicated) all refer to essentially the same thing- operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Ohio law removed the requirement that a vehicle must be “motorized,” so the current acronym that refers to driving under the influence is “OVI” (Operating a Vehicle Impaired / Intoxicated). It is now a crime in Ohio to operate almost any vehicle while impaired. This includes not only motorized “vehicles,” but also, bicycles, a segway, a horse-drawn carriage and several other types of “vehicles.”

Ohio OVI : DUI Law

Although drivers under 21 account for less than 10% of licensed drivers, they account for 13% of DUI related fatalities in Ohio, according to one survey. Because underage drinkers cause a disproportionate number of alcohol-related auto fatalities, the standards are stricter and the penalties may be harsher for those under 21.

If you are over 21 years of age and your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and breath alcohol content (BrAC) is .08 or greater, you are considered to be “operating a vehicle impaired.” The .08 figure refers to the concentration of alcohol in your breath or in your blood. If a chemical test determines that a driver under 21 has a blood alcohol content BAC of .02% or higher, the driver can be cited for driving under the influence.

If charged with a 1st Offense OVI, the Court can allow you to participate in a 72 hour (3 Day) “Alcohol” Intervention Program in lieu of a 3 day mandatory jail sentence.

Drunk Driving

According to MADD, in 2013, 10,076 people were killed and approximately 290,000 were injured. All DUI or OVI incidents should be taken seriously. By turning around, he was aware that he might be under the influence. We hope he will learn from this incident.