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OVI Overview:

Commonly referred to as DUI, or driving under the influence, Ohio law now refers to this misconduct as OVI, or operating a vehicle impaired. This change was made in order to more accurately reflect the law, since the law does not require driving. Being charged with drunk driving triggers two cases against the offender:

  • The court case which may result in jail time and a range of other penalties.
  • The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles case which puts the offender’s driving rights at stake.

What can I get an OVI for?

Ohio drunk driving laws make it illegal for a driver to operate a vehicle with a level of alcohol in their system of .08% (breath) or above, as determined by blood, urine or breath tests. This is called a per se offense—it is based entirely on body chemistry and has nothing to do with alcohol interfering with the driver’s mental or physical abilities.

The second way to be charged with DUI in Ohio is to operate a motor vehicle while having any amount of alcohol or drugs that impairs the driver’s physical or mental abilities to an appreciable degree. A driver can be convicted of this offense without any proof of a specific level of alcohol or drugs in their system. This conviction usually follows a series of field sobriety tests. Therefore, no blood, urine, or breath test is necessary in order to be charged or convicted. The officer must have a probable cause to stop before administering these tests. A person may be charged with both types of impaired driving offenses, but can only be convicted and sentenced for one. An experienced Columbus DUI defense attorney will know how to handle your specific drunk driving case.

These are only the basics of Ohio drunk driving offenses. These cases are very complicated and include many technical elements. It is important to contact an experienced defense attorney who can fully explain the charges. Further, it is important to have a drunk driving defense attorney who will explore potential defenses that may be available.

At Funkhouser Law, we know that everyone accused of OVI has the presumption of innocence. As such, we work hard to accomplish the most favorable outcome for each of our clients. If you have been accused of OVI, please call Funkhouser Law for a free consultation with an experienced, peer-rated lawyer.

What do I say if I am pulled over?

If it is the first time you have been pulled over for an OVI, it is best to ask to speak with an attorney and not take field sobriety tests until you have the opportunity to confer with legal counsel. Field sobriety tests themselves are less than accurate and the government’s own studies give accuracy ratings for determining alcohol content of 77%. Most of the time when a person speaks to a police officer, their words are used against them in court, but your discussion with a lawyer is covered by attorney-client privilege.

OVI Charges that may be brought

  • Operating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs of abuse
  • Operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration
  • Operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration
  • Operating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs of abuse with refusal
  • Operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration (defendant under 21 years of age)
  • Physical control of vehicle while under the influence
  • Wrongful entrustment of motor vehicle
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