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How Is a DUI Crime Defined in Ohio?

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The first thing to know about getting a DUI in Ohio is that the state doesn’t call the crime of drinking and driving a DUI. OVI, or operating a vehicle under the influence, is the language that is used.

The second thing to know about a DUI/OVI crime is what exactly constitutes an OVI. For example, did you know that it’s not just having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or above that can result in an OVI charge? Here’s what you need to know–

What Is Intoxication/Under the Influence?

First, how is “under the influence,” or as is more commonly said, “intoxicated,” defined under Ohio code?

Ohio Code Section 4511.19 reads that it is illegal for a person to operate a vehicle when under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any combination. The law continues to list specific illegal measurements of alcohol or drugs within a person’s system, including the .08 percent limit that most are familiar with. The point, however, is that if any drug or substance is impairing you, even a legal drug (such as a prescription or over-the-counter sleep aid), you could be charged with a DUI.

What Is Operation?

The other part of the language of the law that needs to be defined is “operation,” which most people would assume to be driving. However, the law often loosely interprets this word. Indeed, operation does not necessarily mean that the vehicle is in motion. Even if the vehicle is in park, if the impaired person has manipulated any one of the vehicle’s functions or controls, such as the lights, gears, etc., there could be an argument made for the vehicle being in operation. In fact, while “operate” is defined as “to cause or have caused movement,” court precedent in Ohio has held that slumping over the wheel of a vehicle while the vehicle is turned on, despite a lack of movement, constituted operation.

Protect Yourself If You Have Been Charged with a DUI

All of the information above means that a DUI/OVI offense in Ohio is much more than just driving down a highway with a BAC of .08 percent or higher. Indeed, it could mean, in some cases, sitting in your driveway with the car running for warmth after smoking weed, or moving your vehicle after taking an impairing over-the-counter drug.

At the offices of The VanNoy Firm, our experienced OVI attorneys are prepared to fight for you if you are facing OVI charges in Ohio. We will help you to understand the charge and penalties, and build a strong defense.

If you are facing criminal charges, please contact our team today. You can reach us online or by phone for your initial consultation. We offer services in English and Spanish.

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Anthony S. VanNoy

Trial Attorney

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