When it comes to drunk driving/OVI arrests, it isn’t the biggest counties that generate the most serious felony OVI cases.Lorain County, the 9th biggest county in Ohio by population, led the state with 42 OVI felonies in the past 2 years.
Even more dramatically, some of the smaller counties generate a significant amount of these serious Ohio drunk driving arrests.
According to the Ironton Tribune, Belmont County was the Ohio county with the 2nd most felony OVI cases, a total of 22 cases. This is surprising, since Belmont is only the 36th most populous county in the state.
And Lawrence County (40th in population) also made the top 10 for Felony OWI stops, with 14 cases. Lawrence county did not make the top ten list for all OVI stops, just for the more serious cases of multiple offenders.
Felony OVI Offenses
Under Ohio law, an OVI felony is a 4th offense or greater within 6 years. Any forth offense Ohio drunk driving conviction means at least 60 days in jail, and up to 1 1/2 years, and most felonies result in sentencing of a year or more in prison.
In most cases, any misdemeanor 2nd or multiple offense conviction for OVI will result in a jail term of 10 days or more.
Why So Many Felony Drunk Driving Arrests?
Police officers speculate that part of the large number of serious arrests could be due to aggressive patrolling and enforcement. That is certainly a plausible explanation, but it is also arguable that relatively rural southeastern Ohio along the West Virginia and Kentucky borders simply has a higher incidence of drunk driving and alcohol abuse than other parts of the state.