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Examining Ohio Law: Part Two - What Is An OVI/DUI?

This is the second installment of DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder's, St. Patrick's Day series exploring the ins and outs of Ohio's OVI/DUI laws. Surprisingly often, people are unsure or confused as to what exactly consitutes a OVI/DUI in Ohio. Today's post is designed to provide information regarding the elements necessary to establish an OVI/DUI offense.

Ohio Revised Code 4511.19, et seq., defines the OVI/DUI offense, making it unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of: (1) alcohol; (2) a drug of abuse; or (3) a combination of alcohol and a drug of abuse. Further, it is illegal for any person having blood-alcohol-concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher to operate a motor vehicle. This type of offense, often known as a "per se" violation, would apply regardless of whether the individual is under the influence of alcohol at the time. This means that a person can have alcohol in their system which is not significantly impairing their ability to drive yet still be charged with OVI/DUI.

Ohio law does not require that an individual actually be driving a vehicle to receive a OVI/DUI, rather the individual merely need by in "physical control" of a vehicle while under the influence or with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. "Physical control" is defined as being in the driver's seat of a vehicle and having possession of the vehicle's keys or other ignition device. Generally speaking, penalties for "physical control" offenses are less severe than those for OVI/DUI.

An important difference between and Administrative License Suspension and a OVI/DUI or "physical control" offense is that the former affords the offender the option of contesting his/her license suspension through appeal while the latter requires that the offender appear in court or a warrant will be issued for his/her arrest.

The experienced attorneys of DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder have extensive experience defending against OVI/DUI charges. If you have been charged with OVI/DUI in Ohio, a knowledgeable Criminal Attorney from DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder may be able to help. For legal advice or information, contact, the attorneys at DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder today.