Are you confused about the difference between a DUI, DWI and an OVI? Why are there so many drunk driving acronyms and what do they all mean? The criminal defense attorneys at Zanesville Law handle OVI cases in Ohio and can answer any questions you may have.
What’s the difference between a DUI, OVI, DWI and OMVI?
Essentially, all these acronyms refer to the same thing: operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- DUI: Driving under the influence
- OVI: Operating a vehicle impaired
- DWI: Driving while impaired
- OMVI: Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence
Can I be charged with OVI if my car is off?
According to OVI laws, if you’re sitting in the driver’s seat and the keys are within reach – and you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of them– you can be arrested. Ohio law also extended the charges to include operating any type of vehicle, not just motorized ones, so don’t drink and bicycle either!
What are the penalties for an OVI in Ohio?
Depending on the severity of your charge or if you’ve had more than one OVI, penalties may include license suspension, mandatory driver intervention programs, restricted license plates, probation, fines, jail time and more.
If it’s my first offense, do I still have to go to jail?
If this is your first OVI offense and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above .08 but less than.17, you will have to stay in jail for a minimum of 72 hours, or three days in a Driver Intervention Program (a 72-hour drug/or alcohol treatment program that has been approved by the court). If your BAC is more than .17, it’s a minimum six-day jail sentence, or three days in jail and three days in a Driver Intervention Program.
Do I have to take a blood alcohol test?
If you’re pulled over for suspicion of OVI in Ohio you may be asked to take a blood, breath or urine test to determine if you are under the influence and to what level. If the officer has probable cause, it’s required by law that you take the test. You have the right to refuse to take any test; however, you may face certain penalties for your refusal such as an automatic license suspension.
Do I have to take a field sobriety test?
You have the right to refuse field sobriety tests and many attorneys suggest you should, in fact, refuse. Why? Submitting to field sobriety testing is not required by law and the fact that you refused can’t be used against you in court. Also, submitting to field sobriety testing simply provides the state with additional evidence.
Ohio recognizes three field sobriety tests:
1. Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) – the officer will ask you to follow an object with your eyes
2. One leg stand – you must stand on one leg while counting
3. Walk and turn – you must walk a straight line, turn, and then walk back
What is an administrative license suspension (ALS)?
According to Ohio law, if you are charged with OVI your driver’s license can be suspended prior to your court date. Types of administrative license suspensions included suspension as a result of refusing to take a breath, blood or urine test, or from being over the legal limit.
How long is a license suspension if I am over the legal limit?
If you take a chemical test and you are at or above the legal limit, your license will be automatically suspended for 90 days. If you refuse to take a test, your license will be automatically suspended for 1 year.
Can I get driving privileges on a suspended license?
In many cases, after 30 days, you may be able to get driving privileges to work or school.
What is Annie’s Law?
Annie’s Law went into effect April 2017 to make OVI penalties more severe. For example, a person now will receive “first time offense” status if 1. it is the first OVI offense or 2. It has been more than 10 years since their previous OVI offense (it used to be 6 years). In addition, there are longer license suspension periods, more ignition interlock device (IID) requirements, and stricter suspension rules on people with multiple convictions.
What is the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) in Ohio?
If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or higher, you are above the legal limit. If you have BAC higher than .17, the penalties are more severe.
Is an OVI a misdemeanor or a felony?
In Ohio, an OVI can be either a misdemeanor or a felony charge depending on the circumstances; however, it’s usually only a misdemeanor if it is the first offense.
Should I hire an attorney for an OVI arrest?
Yes, a skilled criminal defense lawyer will investigate if the officer had reasonable grounds to pull you over, request you to submit to testing, and arrest you for OVI. If the officer falls short at any point during your arrest, an attorney may be able to appeal your administrative license suspension and fight to get certain evidence thrown out or your case dismissed.