Columbus and Delaware, Ohio DUI / OVI Attorney
If you have been arrested for DUI / OVI, you may have questions regarding the potential sentences that could be imposed, what the elements are to certain charges, what happens if you have previous DUI / OVI convictions, etc. Although searching the internet is a great way to begin finding information on DUI / OVI, speaking with an experienced DUI / OVI attorney is best.
Consult this FAQ to answer many common questions regarding DUI / OVI. If questions persist, or you are in need to speak with an experienced and dedicated DUI / OVI attorney, call Attorney David Johnson at Johnson Legal, LLC by calling (614) 987-0192 or send him an email to schedule a consultation.
Q. What is an OVI?
A. OVI is the legal term in Ohio for “DUI.” OVI stands for Operating a Vehicle under the Influence of alcohol and/or drugs. “Operating” does not require that the vehicle actually be moving. The vehicle does not even after to be running as long as you are in the driver’s seat and the keys are in the ignition.
If the police are unable to prove that you actually drove the vehicle while under the influence, you could be charged with “physical control.”
Q. Do you have to actually be driving to be convicted of DUI / OVI?
A. No. You can be convicted of a physical control offense without actually driving a motor vehicle. Under R.C. 4511.194, a person can have “physical control” of the vehicle and still be prosecuted for drunk driving. To be in “physical control,” 3 factors must be met:
- You must have been in the driver’s seat;
- You must be in possession of the ignition key; and
- You must have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs or tested over the legal limit.
Physical control is similar to a DUI / OVI charge in that it requires a person to be in a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, physical control does not require that the person have driven or even started the vehicle. Having the keys within reach will satisfy the definition of physical control. The keys need not be in the ignition.
A common example of when this might occur is when a person leaves a bar and decides to “sleep it off” in their vehicle. The person may (but is not required to) start their car to run the heater or air conditioner. The vehicle is running and the person falls asleep. This can result in a charge of physical control.
Q. What is a “reckless operation” charge?
A. Many people believe that a first DUI / OVI offense in Ohio should be reduced to a “reckless operation” charge. However, several factors must be considered, such as the stance of the court and prosecutor in regards to DUI / OVI charges and the facts of your case, including:
- Was there a chemical test (breathalyzer, urine or blood test) or field sobriety tests performed, and what were the results of those tests.
- Was there an accident.
- What was your demeanor in dealing with law enforcement.
While these are only a few of the factors to be considered, and there is no guarantee that having a low breath test or being polite to the police officer will reduce the potential charge, speaking with an experienced DUI / OVI attorney is imperative.
Q. Can you be convicted of DUI / OVI if your BAC is below the legal limit?
A. Yes, being above the legal limit is not the only way to be convicted of DUI / OVI. You can also be convicted of DUI / OVI depending on your level of impairment. There are two types of DUI / OVI in Ohio: “per se” and “impaired.”
DUI / OVI “per se” means the prosecution must prove that you operated a vehicle with a prohibited amount of alcohol or drugs in your system. DUI / OVI “impaired” means that you operated a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The amount in your system is irrelevant.
Q. Can I be charged with DUI / OVI if I pass the field sobriety tests?
A. Most people are inexperienced when it comes to field sobriety tests and do not know what the officer is looking for. Thus, many are confused when they are charged with DUI / OVI because they thought they passed the field sobriety tests.
Three different standardized field sobriety tests are administered: horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, and one leg stand. The most common misconception is that being able to follow the officer’s finger or pen during the horizontal gaze nystagmus test means that you passed the test. However, the officer is not looking for you to simply follow a pen or finger, but is checking for the presence of nystagmus, or an involuntary jerking of the eye, which is associated with intoxication.
Q. How is “operation of a vehicle” defined?
A. “Operation of a vehicle” is defined as sitting in the driver’s seat while in possession of the ignition key and causing the vehicle to move.
Q. What should I do if I’m pulled over after drinking?
- Keep your hands on the steering wheel and do not move unless requested.
- Politely ask the officer if you can consult with your attorney before answering any questions.
- Step out of the vehicle if asked to do so.
Q. Do I have a right to refuse sobriety tests?
A. You are under no obligation to consent to field sobriety tests. However, Ohio is an implied consent state and your refusal to submit to a chemical test will result in an administrative license suspension. Moreover, if you have been convicted of DUI / OVI in the past, your refusal to submit to a chemical test will result in a separate criminal charge, known as “DUI / OVI Refusal“.
Q. What is the sentence for a first DUI / OVI conviction?
A. A first DUI / OVI conviction is a 1st degree misdemeanor. It results in a mandatory 3 day jail sentence (can be eliminated with the help of a skilled attorney), a fine of $375 – $1075, a driver’s license suspension, and you may be required to attend a driver’s intervention program.
Q. What are the penalties for a second DUI / OVI conviction?
A. If convicted for a second DUI / OVI in the past 10 years, you face a 1st degree misdemeanor. This results in a mandatory 10 days in jail, a fine of $525 – $1625, mandatory drug and alcohol assessment, and a driver’s license suspension of 1-7 years. If you refuse to submit to a chemical or breathalyzer test, the mandatory 10 days in jail will be 20 days.
Q. What are the penalties for a third DUI / OVI conviction?
A. A third DUI / OVI conviction will result in a fine of $850 – $2750, 30 days in jail, a 2-12 year driver’s license suspension, mandatory drug and alcohol treatment program and criminal forfeiture of the vehicle. If you refused to submit to a chemical or breathalyzer test, the mandatory 30 days in jail will be 60 days.
Q. Do cities in Ohio have laws that are stricter than the state of Ohio?
A. Yes. Some cities, including Columbus, have stricter sentencing procedures than others. For example, Columbus’ city code provides that any previous DUI / OVI offense will be considered in sentencing, regardless of how long ago it took place.
Q. If I refuse to consent to a blood test, can law enforcement force the test?
A. Yes. Under Ohio law, court intervention is not always required. If you have been convicted of 2 or more DUI / OVI offenses within the past 10 years or 5 or more within the last 20 years, law enforcement can use whatever force is necessary to obtain a blood sample.
DUI / OVI Attorney – Columbus and Delaware, Ohio
If you have been charged with DUI / OVI in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio DUI / OVI attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in fighting the charges. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your DUI / OVI case.
Johnson Legal, LLC serves the following cities in the central Ohio area for DUI / OVI Defense:
Westerville, Worthington, Columbus, Polaris, Reynoldsburg, Grandview Heights, Shawnee Hills, Bexley, Pickerington, Gahanna, Sunbury, Powell, Upper Arlington, New Albany, Dublin, Hilliard, Lewis Center, Galena, Clintonville, Huber Ridge, Blacklick, Grove City, Delaware, Marysville, Groveport, Newark, Canal Winchester, Obetz, Marion, Mt. Gilead, Pataskala, Granville, Whitehall, Franklin County, Morrow County, Licking County, Knox County, Union County, Madison County and Delaware County