Operating Vehicle Impaired (OVI)
A conviction for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol can lead to serious repercussions and affect your life for a very long time. An OVI can result in fines, community service, probation, license suspension and even jail time.
In Ohio, the term OVI refers to the crime of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or chemical or controlled substances. Prior to 1982, Ohio used the term Driving Under the Influence (DUI) orDriving While Impaired (DWI). The statute was then changed to OMVI which was an acronym for Operating a Motor Vehicle Impaired.
Recently, the Ohio legislature removed any requirement that a vehicle be motorized, thereafter, the crime is called OVI. Under the current statutory scheme, even driving a horse-drawn carriage or bicycle can be considered a crime.
The penalties for a first OVI are serious. A conviction for a second, third or subsequent offense of OVI can lead to more severe penalties. Collateral consequences can impact your ability to continue in your choosen profession or further your education.
There is no quick resolution to an OVI, but hiring a criminal defense attorney can help make the process go more smooth while you fight for a better result. Having the right attorney can also help you achieve some piece of mind because you will know that everything is being done to protect your rights.
Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence in Ohio means driving, or being in actual physical possession of a vehicle, and being impaired or having an Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of .08 or higher after drinking alcohol, taking controlled substances, or using other chemical substances.
Common OVI offenses and issues associated with charges for operating a vehicle under the influence in Ohio can include:
OVI Defense Attorney in Columbus, OH
If you have been charged with any OVI offense in Franklin County, or any of the surrounding counties in Ohio, including Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County and Fairfield County, contact the Joslyn Law Firm for a consultation at (614) 444-1900.
Brian Joslyn is an experienced criminal defense attorney and is knowledgeable about Ohio’s OVI laws.
Ohio DUI / OVI Information Center
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Ohio’s Legal Limit
The legal limit in Ohio is the maximum amount of alcohol or controlled substance detectable in the blood, breath or urine before a person is charged with an offense for being under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. Ohio’s limit is .08% per unit volume of alcohol in the offender’s whole blood.
This limit can also be measured as .08 of one gram (or 80 milligrams) of alcohol per 210 liters of the person’s breath, or .11 of one gram (or 110 milligrams) of alcohol per 100 milliliters of the driver’s urine. If you are pulled over and your BAC is .08% or higher, you can be charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol in Ohio.
Further, if a driver has been pulled over for operating a vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance, including amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, L.S.D., marijuana, in an amount in excess of the legal limit, as measured by breath or urine, they can be charged with an OVI in Ohio.
If you have a high blood alcohol level of more than or equal to .17%, .17 of breath alcohol level, or .238 of urine alcohol level in Ohio, you can incur greater punishments, including higher fines and longer jail sentences.
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Columbus, Ohio Common OVI Charges
Common OVI offenses, as defined in chapter 4511 of the Ohio Revised Code, can include:
First OVI is typically a misdemeanor of the first degree under Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19, and occurs if someone operates any vehicle, under the influence of alcohol, controlled substance, or combination of alcohol and controlled susbtances, and their BAC was over the legal limit of .08%.
Second OVI is usually a misdemeanor of the first degree, and occurs when a person operates a vehicle within six years of a prior OVI conviction under the influence of alcohol, controlled substance, or combination of both, and has a BAC of .08% or higher.
Third OVI is usually a misdemeanor, and occurs when a person operates a vehicle within six years of two prior OVI convictions under the influence of alcohol, controlled substance, or a combination of both, and has a BAC of .08% or higher.
Felony DUI / OVI occurs if someone has been convicted of three or four previous OVI violations within six years of the current OVI charge or five OVI convictions within 20 years of the current OVI charge. These offenses are felonies of the fourth degree.
Underage OVI is usually a misdemeanor of the fourth degree, and occurs if a person under the age of 21 operates a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, controlled substance, or a combination of both, and has a BAC greater than .02%.
Aggravated Vehicular Assault occurs when a person operates a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a BAC over the legal limit, and causes serious physical harm to another person or unborn baby, and can be a felony of the second or third degree.
Aggravated Vehicular Homicide can either be a felony of the first or second degree, and occurs when a person operates a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a BAC over the legal limit, and causes the death or unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy.
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Penalties for OVI Convictions in Ohio
Depending on the number of prior OVI convictions an offender has, whether an OVI involved death or serious bodily injury, and the level of the person’s OVI at the time of arrest will determine the potential punishments for an OVI conviction. Penalties for OVI convictions can include:
- Fines ranging from $375 to $20,000,
- Jail or prison time from 3 days to 15 years,
- Placement of an interlock device on the offender’s vehicle,
- Drivers’ intervention program,
- Yellow OVI Plates,
- Alcohol monitoring system,
- Alcohol and drug treatment programs,
- Vehicle Immobilization or Forfeiture,
- Driver’s license suspension or revocation, and/or
- Court costs and fees.
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Administrative License Suspension (ALS)
If you have refused any chemical testing for an OVI in Ohio, your license will automatically be suspended, also known as an administrative license suspension. An ALS will occur if a driver refuses chemical testing of the blood, breath or urine.
A person whose license has been suspended has 30 days to request a hearing to review the suspension. This suspension is different from a license suspension after an OVI conviction. An ALS is civil in nature and used only for chemical testing refusals, whereas a suspension upon an OVI conviction is a criminal penalty.
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What to Do if You're Arrested for OVI in Columbus
If you are pulled over for suspicion of OVI, it is likely you will be arrested. In order to reduce the consequences you may face when arrested for OVI, it is important to:
Ask to have your attorney present before speaking about or disclosing anything (other than you license, registration, and proof of insurance) to the arresting officer.
Do not give any oral or written statement, or sign anything, unless your attorney is present.
After an arrest, and before speaking to law enforcement, hire an attorney to represent you in your OVI allegation.
Maintain your documentation and evidence you may have of the circumstances surrounding your OVI arrest. This information may be helpful to defending your situation, and you will not want to solely rely on the information the arresting office and prosecutor have.
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Defenses to an OVI in Columbus
Some defenses to OVI charges in Ohio will from faulty chemical testing. For example, erroneous results from blood, breath or urine tests can appear if the tests were administered improperly, the tests were inconclusive, the tests were tainted from outside factors, or if the breathalyzer machine was not properly calibrated.
Other defenses can include violations of your constitutional rights, such as failure of the law enforcement officer to read your Miranda warnings, the arresting officer did not have probable cause to stop your car, or the officer induced you to answer questions after your were in custody and had requested an attorney.
It is important to talk to your attorney about the defenses that may be applicable to your particular case because the facts and details of OVI charge are different in every situation.
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Resources for Driving Under the Influence in Ohio
Mothers Against Drunk Driving – This national nonprofit organization’s goal is stop drunk driving, prevent crimes resulting from drinking and driving, and support the victims of drunk driving crimes. MADD Ohio
5900 Roche Drive #250
Columbus, OH 43229
Phone: (614) 885-6233
Central Ohio Group Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous – AA is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, nondenominational, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. AA Central Ohio - Columbus Office
100 W 3rd Ave.
Columbus, OH 43201
Phone: (614) 253-8501
Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence – This link is to Ohio’s laws regarding OVI, and outlines the penalties for misdemeanor and OVI offenses. The laws can be found in Title 45 of the Ohio Revised Code, and this particular section is also codified as Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 4511.19.
Ohio Department of Public Safety – The Ohio DPS has information about Administrative License Suspensions, information on reinstating your driver’s license, approved interlock devices, and the registry of Habitual OVI offenders in the state.
Franklin County Clerk of Courts – This link has information to your case information in Franklin County, court locations and information, forms and fees for cases filed in Franklin County, and links to legal resources in the county. The court is located at: Franklin County Hall of Justice
369 S. High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: (614) 525-3650
Ohio State Highway Patrol – This law enforcement branch in Ohio seeks to enforce the state’s traffic laws and promote highway safety by providing prompt responses to vehicle crashes, information on patrol stations and ongoing initiatives of the department. The OSHP can be contacted at: Ohio State Highway Patrol
P.O. Box 182074
Columbus, Ohio 43223
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Joslyn Law Firm | Columbus, Ohio Drunk Driving Defense Attorney
Contact the Joslyn Law Firm today for a consultation about your drinking and driving offense in Columbus, Ohio. The facts of each case are different, so it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to find possible defenses or mitigating factors to have your charges reduced or even dismissed.
Contact the Joslyn Law Firm at (614) 444-1900 for a consultation about your OVI charge in Franklin County and surrounding counties of Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County and Fairfield County.
Hiring an experienced Drunk Driving Defense Attorney in Columbus, OH, as early as possible in the case often leads to the best result.