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Physical Control of Vehicle While Under the Influence ORC § 4511.194

Physical control of vehicle while under the influence defined:

  • Sitting in a driver’s seat
  • With possession of the ignition keys
  • While in the driver’s seat

In Ohio, if a person has a blood alcohol level of .08 or above and is sitting in the driver’s seat with possession of an ignition key, they can be charged with physical control of vehicle while under the influence of a drug or alcohol. This is 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 a person’s mental or physical abilities. What makes this charge unique is that a person does not have to be driving or operating a vehicle.

These are only the basics of Ohio impaired 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 defense attorney familiar with defending drunk driving cases who will explore potential defenses that may be available.


No. of OffenseDegree of OffenseIncarcerationFinesTreatmentLicense SuspensionDriving PrivilegesRestricted License/Interlock
AnyM-10-180 days in jail$0-$1,000OptionalUp to 1 yearNo “hard-time”Optional

Potential Penalties
A charge of physical control of a vehicle while under the influence is a misdemeanor of the first degree and it is optional for the court to suspend a person’s driver’s license for a period not to exceed one year.

At Funkhouser Law, we know that not everyone who is accused of physical control of vehicle while under the influence is guilty. As such, we work hard to accomplish the most favorable outcome for each of our clients. If you have been accused of physical control, please call Funkhouser Law for a free consultation with an experienced, peer-rated lawyer.

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