By Attorneys Larry J Denny and Michael Mills
Everyone has heard the slogan and seen the signs on the highway “Drive sober or get pulled over” … but they may not know that in Ohio there are several different kinds of OVI. And yes, you can in fact be required to go to court on an OVI charge even when you blow below 0.08 on the breath test machine.
In Ohio there are two main parts of the OVI law, the umbrella R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a) is Ohio’s Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence statute that prohibits driving a vehicle in the state while under the “influence”:
4511.19 Operating vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs – OVI.
(A)(1) No person shall operate any vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley within this state, if, at the time of the operation, any of the following apply:
(a) The person is under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them.
And R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(b) through its sub sections that describe Ohio’s “per se” levels of intoxication:
(b) The person has a concentration of eight-hundredths of one per cent or more but less than seventeen-hundredths of one per cent by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person’s whole blood.
(c) The person has a concentration of ninety-six-thousandths of one per cent or more but less than two hundred four-thousandths of one per cent by weight per unit volume of alcohol in the person’s blood serum or plasma.
(d) The person has a concentration of eight-hundredths of one gram or more but less than seventeen-hundredths of one gram by weight of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of the person’s breath.
(e) The person has a concentration of eleven-hundredths of one gram or more but less than two hundred thirty-eight-thousandths of one gram by weight of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of the person’s urine.
The “per se” levels are merely an amount of alcohol that Ohio prohibits from having in your blood, breath or urine when you are operating a motor vehicle. It is very possible that you MAY NOT consider yourself drunk at above 0.08… The same is true for the reverse, that a Law Enforcement Officer MAY consider you to be too impaired to drive even when you are below the limit! The answer to why that is possible is that the two parts of the law are independent of one another for the purposes of your criminal case. You may be charged with either or both… and you may be convicted of either or both or found not guilty on one and guilty on the other.
The umbrella OVI provisions can still be used by an Officer to charge you with a crime regardless of what the chemical test says. All that matters to the Officer is HIS OPINION of your driving, actions and performance of any field sobriety tests. That is why it is so important to contact an experienced OVI Attorney in Ohio whenever you have been charged with an OVI.
* Other states have specific laws for alcohol, but in Ohio it doesn’t matter whether its booze, pills, or other illegal drugs that may be in your system. It’s all OVI. The legal limit to drive is 0.08 of a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). There are also different prohibited blood levels for marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, and other illegal substances.
Dealing with an OVI arrest can be overwhelming and confusing. Securing competent legal representation is crucial and immediate, hiring an OVI attorney who possesses courtroom experience and a keen statutory knowledge is critical. Attorney Larry Denny excels in these areas.
Mr. Denny’s resume includes 37 years of legal experience and an endless number of cases in the judicial system. Police officers, judges, and prosecutors know Mr. Denny very well from his interactions with them over the years. Mr. Denny possesses numerous certifications from legal agencies and judicial associations. He is known for his tenacity in defending his clients to the best of his professional ability.