In Ohio, it’s possible to get stopped by a police officer if they suspect you of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while behind the wheel. There are two types of offenses you can be charged with if you are found to be impaired: DUI or OVI.
What is a DUI?
Knowing the difference between DUI and OVI is important if you face charges for one or the other. A DUI is also known as driving under the influence. Although many states use the term to describe drivers who operate their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Ohio no longer uses it.
What is an OVI?
OVI is an abbreviation for operating a vehicle impaired. Ohio recognizes this term for drivers who are operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. One key difference between DUI and OVI is that OVI doesn’t mention a motor vehicle. Instead, it refers to all types of vehicles, including bicycles and others that lack a motor. In other words, if a police officer spots a person riding a bicycle who appears to be impaired, they can stop them and request them to take a breath test or bring them to the police station or a hospital to submit to a blood test.
What is the legal limit while driving?
Like other states, Ohio has set 0.08 as the legal limit for breath tests for individuals 21 and older while they are operating a vehicle. If a person’s blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is higher than the legal limit, they can be arrested and charged with OVI.
The limits for testing vary depending on the specimen being tested. Although the legal limit for a breath test is 0.08, a urine sample is considered over the limit at 0.11 or higher. Blood or plasma samples higher than 0.096 are considered over the limit.
What if you refuse to take a test?
Refusing to submit to a breath, blood or urine test to determine BAC is a crime. If a person refuses to submit to a test, they can still be charged and convicted of an OVI. By state law, refusing is equivalent to admitting guilt.
OVI is a serious charge. It’s important to take it seriously and have a strong defense in your case.