Have you been charged with an Ovi/Dui in Ohio? Operating a vehicle while under the influence—or OVI, as the Ohio legislature calls it—is a severe offense. If you are currently facing an OVI charge in Ohio, you may feel scared, confused, or unsure of the consequences.
Understanding OVI laws in Ohio can help you feel more at-ease about your recent charge. The consequences of your arrest may not be as severe as you think, and if the circumstances are right, you may even be able to get off with a lighter penalty.
Here are five things you may not know about Ohio OVI laws. If you have additional questions, contact our criminal lawyer for a free consultation about your charge.
1. Officers Must Follow Strict Protocols When Administering Sobriety Tests
When an Ohio officer issues a breathalyzer test, they have to follow strict procedures to ensure that the court deems the test valid and accurate. However, some officers cut corners in the interest of time, are unaware of every protocol, or purposefully skew results. As a result, many Ohio residents have faced wrongful drunk driving charges.
One protocol that officers commonly overlook is the required waiting period before administering a breathalyzer test. Officers must observe you for twenty minutes before you blow into the test to ensure you do not ingest anything that may alter the results. However, many officers cut this waiting period short to save time, invalidating the test in the process.
If an officer administered your test in the wrong way, even if the results were accurate, you can have the test removed from your criminal proceedings. A responsible criminal lawyer can review the details surrounding your sobriety test to determine its validity.
2. You Can Receive an OVI if Your Blood Alcohol Content Is Below 0.08%
The legal blood alcohol level in Ohio is below 0.08%. Typically, if your breathalyzer shows this BAC or higher, an officer will charge you with an OVI.
However, many people do not realize that you can still receive an OVI if your BAC is below this level. Ohio law gives officers the right to deem drivers “impaired” and charge them with an OVI even if their blood alcohol level is below the legal limit.
This law recognizes that alcohol affects everyone differently, and while some people may feel okay with a BAC of 0.06%, others would have difficulty driving with this level of impairment. However, because this type of OVI is subject to an officer’s opinion, you may be able to fight this charge if you feel it was invalid.
3. Legal Drugs Can Alter Your BAC
The sobriety tests that Ohio officers administer are not foolproof.
In some cases, having legal drugs in your system can alter your BAC reading. Taking medications such as oral gels, asthma medications, over-the-counter medicines, and even mouthwashes can lead you to fail a breathalyzer test, even if you are completely sober.
If you feel your sobriety test produced inaccurate results, our criminal law team may be able to help you dispute your charges.
4. Taking a Roadside Sobriety Test is Not Mandatory
Officers often ask drivers to complete roadside sobriety tests if they believe they may be driving while intoxicated. These tests involve walking in a straight line, following the officer’s finger with your eyes, and balancing on one foot.
If an officer pulls you over and asks you to complete a roadside sobriety test, you have every right to refuse. However, there is a fine line between refusing the test and failing to obey the officer. You will still need to get out of the car and follow any other orders, but you can calmly and courteously decline to take the roadside tests.
5. Minors Face Severe Consequences for OVIs in Ohio
When an individual under the age of 21 faces an OVI charge, Ohio refers to this charge as operating a vehicle after underage consumption (OVUAC). This charge can be more severe than standard OVI charges because it combines underage drinking with driving while intoxicated.
A first OVUAC offense counts as a fourth-degree misdemeanor and can result in a 30-day jail sentence and a fine of up to $250. However, before an OVUAC case goes to trial, the defendant may face pre-trial sanctions that suspend their license or permit in the meantime.
OVUAC charges can also coincide with criminal offenses, such as underage possession, solicitation, or alcohol distribution. These charges may exacerbate the defendant’s penalties.
The best way to navigate an OVUAC charge is to hire a professional, competent attorney to guide you through every step of the process. Our criminal law team can represent your case at the pre-trial and trial and attempt to minimize your penalties.
Contact Bangerter Law Today
Facing an OVI charge may feel overwhelming and scary, but you don’t have to face it alone. Having a competent, dedicated attorney on your side can help you present your case accurately and convincingly to the court, and our team may be able to help lessen your penalty.
Contact The Bangerter Law Office today at (440) 409-7898 to schedule a free consultation.
Copyright© 2021. The Bangerter Law Office
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.