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Drunk driving terms are widespread in the U.S. You understand what it means when someone says the legal limit is 0.08 percent. You know what it means when someone is arrested for a DUI. But what is an OVI or DUI? Many people don’t recognize those acronyms immediately, but they are just a different state’s way of saying DUI. While a DUI stands for driving under the influence, Ohio calls this offense an OVI because it stands for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you live in a state that uses a unique term, don’t be fooled. An OVI is the same as a DUI and it needs to be treated just as seriously.
If you’ve been charged with an OVI, call the Columbus criminal defense attorneys of Luftman, Heck & Associates at .
Ohio statute 4511.19 defines the crime of OVI. You can be arrested for an OVI if you are found to have a BAC at or above 0.08 percent. You can also be charged if you are found to be impaired by alcohol or a “drug of abuse.”
The state defines a drug of abuse as a controlled substance, a dangerous drug as defined by the law, or over-the-counter medication that can impair judgment and reflexes when you exceed the recommended dose. Dangerous drugs include prescription medications, schedule V controlled substances, or any drug meant to be administered by injection.
The point of these definitions is that you must understand you can be arrested for an OVI even when you haven’t been drinking. The use of any kind of drug, even if you bought it over the counter at the local drug store or it was prescribed to you, can lead to an OVI arrest and conviction if that substance altered your ability to drive safely.
If a medication says it can make you drowsy or if it specifically warns against driving, you should think twice before getting behind the wheel.
Ohio also has a law specifically geared toward underage drunk driving. The offense of operating a vehicle after underage consumption, OVUAC, is when someone under the age of 21 is found to be in control of a vehicle with a BAC at or above 0.04 percent. If the driver is younger than 18, a BAC at or above 0.02 percent will lead to a charge.
If you plead or are found guilty of an OVI for the first time, you will be jailed a minimum of 3 days or up to 6 months. You can be fined up to $1,000.
There are also a number of administrative punishments if you’re arrested or charged with an OVI. Your license will be suspended for at least 90 days and you will have at least 6 points added to your driving record for a first-time OVI. If you test positive for alcohol above the legal limit when you are arrested, the officer can take your license and your suspension starts immediately. A second OVI within 6 years of the first OVI conviction will result in a driver’s license suspension of 1 year.
An OVI is a serious charge, even if it’s your first encounter with the law. You need an attorney who will tackle both the immediate administrative suspension of your license and the potential statutory penalties. Contact the Columbus DUI attorneys of Luftman, Heck & Associates at to schedule a consultation.