A: DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and/or drugs. DUI is the most commonly used term for the offense of what is referred to as “drunk driving”. In Ohio, the offense is known as OVI. An OVI offense in Ohio is synonymous with what other states might refer to as a DUI, despite the fact that penalties may differ among and between states.
Field Sobriety Tests
Whether you are facing an OVI Charge of a DWI charge, Police and prosecutors take drunk driving charges very seriously. In Columbus and throughout Ohio, if police officers have reasonable suspicion to believe you are driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will pull you over. They may also administer field sobriety tests (FSTs) approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The FSTs are used to assist in determining whether an individual is impaired, or whether he or she may be drinking and driving. Although they are not scientific, they are recognized and accepted in a court of law to support probable cause for an OVI/DUI arrest if the police substantially complied with the standards.
Examples of field sobriety tests include:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus test
- Walk-and-turn test
- One-leg stand test
Ohio Breathalyzer Tests
Were you pulled over by a police officer who had probable cause to believe you were drinking and driving? In these circumstances, Ohio law states that individuals give their implied consent to a Breathalyzer test, portable breath test or a chemical test of their blood or urine.
A Breathalyzer test is the most common means of testing. Breath testing is performed using a Breathalyzer machine. If an individual’s breath-alcohol level is at least .08, he or she will be arrested and charged with a per se violation under Ohio law. This means that the individual is considered to be under the influence of alcohol strictly and inherently. If the breath-alcohol level is under .08, an individual can still be charged with OVI (also known as DUI) if there is other sufficient evidence of driving while impaired.
Breath Test And Field Sobriety Test Refusal
If you refuse to submit to a field sobriety test or test of your breath, blood, or urine, you will be arrested for DUI or OVI. If you refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer test or a chemical test, or if you fail a Breathalyzer test or a chemical test, your driver’s license will be suspended. The term of your driver’s license suspension differs, depending on whether you refused the chemical test or failed the chemical test. If you refused the chemical test, the administrative license suspension (ALS) remains in place, regardless of whether you are acquitted of the OVI charge. If you failed the chemical test, a subsequent DUI conviction will terminate the imposed ALS suspension and you will receive a court-ordered suspension, which may be longer than the original suspension period. A DUI defense attorney can explain the potential penalties you face according to the facts of your case.
If convicted of an OVI/DUI charge, you face the loss of your driving privileges, substantial fines and incarceration. Additionally, a conviction can have a serious effect on your employment and career, and may directly affect your livelihood. You may also a difficult time being elected to positions of public office due to the negative public stigma of drinking and driving. These consequences increase if you have multiple drunk driving convictions or a manslaughter DUI charge. Under Ohio law, DUI and OVI convictions cannot be expunged from a person’s record, so it is especially important that you seek the help of an experienced DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible if you have been charged.
Contact A Columbus OVI/DUI Lawyer
If you are facing a DUI or OVI charge in Columbus or throughout Ohio, contact attorney Michael S. Probst. As a former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney with more than a decade of criminal law experience, I have handled numerous drunk driving cases. I also handle Felony OVI cases in counties, such as Franklin County, Delaware County, Union County, Pickaway County, Madison County and Fairfield County, as well as in cities, such as Upper Arlington, Worthington, Westerville, Dublin, Grandview and Marysville.
I offer a free consultation to discuss your case. To contact my law office in Columbus, Ohio, call 614-232-8890.