Today I want to address those of you who have been charged with DUI in Ohio. DUI is now known as OVI – “Operating a Vehicle under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs.”
When this short video is over, you will have a good idea about why you have been charged with OVI, or the legal reasoning underlying your charge.
In a subsequent video, I’ll tell you what you should do next to protect yourself from jail, a driver’s license suspension and the other potential consequences of an OVI conviction.
Why Was I Charged with DUI?
There are two theories for OVI in Ohio. You may have been charged under one or both of these theories.
First Theory of DUI
The first theory is the one you have heard the most about: Driving while your blood-alcohol content is over the legal limit of .08. Whether or not you were actually impaired by the alcohol in your system, you are considered guilty of OVI if the prosecutor can show a valid breath, blood or urine test indicating that your blood-alcohol level was above .08. Similarly, you may have been charged with OVI because the prosecutor has a test showing that you were over the legal limit for marijuana, cocaine or some other drug.
If you are charged with OVI for exceeding the legal limit for a particular substance, then my defense of your case will typically focus on attacking the test result as inaccurate or in violation of the applicable rules for administering the test.
The Second Theory of DUI
The second theory for OVI in Ohio is that, regardless of whether you were over some legal limit for alcohol or another substance, you were driving while impaired by that substance. How can the prosecutor show that you were impaired without a breath, blood or urine test? By using the testimony of the arresting officer.
The officer will say things like this: you were driving erratically, you smelled of alcohol, you had glassy, bloodshot eyes, or you performed poorly on field sobriety tests administered by the officer.
If you are charged under this theory for OVI, then my defense will usually consist of attacking the officer’s qualifications, observations, or credibility. Also, we can usually offer innocent explanations for the observations of the police officer. For example, perhaps you drove outside your lane to avoid an animal or some other object in the roadway. Or perhaps your eyes were bloodshot because you allergies.
Defending the Charges Against You
Remember, the prosecutor does not get the last word on your case. You have the right to testify and present other evidence to defend yourself against the OVI charge.
I will work with you to make sure we put on the best possible defense. One that attacks the evidence offered by the state, and offers the jury numerous reasons to find you NOT GUILTY.
So that covers the basic substance of OVI law in Ohio. More questions about DUI are answered in this article: How to Hire a DUI Lawyer You Can Trust.
If you want to ask me any questions about your specific case, feel free to call me, Jim Dearie, at our office. As long as I am not in Court or in a client meeting, I will answer the phone 24/7. Or leave a voicemail, and I’ll call you right back.
For the second article/video in this series, see Your Day in Court – Defending Your DUI Charge, where I’ll walk you through the legal processes invovled in a DUI charge, and let you know what you can expectduring the court proceedings.
Drive safe and take care.