Charges related to operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI) offenses are among the most common criminal allegations filed in Ohio criminal courts. Those arrested for an OVI offense may spend at least one night in jail and will likely end up indicted and facing criminal charges.
An OVI conviction could cost someone their driver’s license and lead to large fines in addition to the possibility of incarceration. Any interaction that a driver has with a police officer is a unique experience, but there are generally two main categories of circumstances that lead to OVI charges against an Ohio motorist.
Chemical test failure
Ohio has a per se limit that applies to an individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Drivers have to follow the law regardless of what they believe about their own theoretical alcohol tolerance. The average adult who is old enough to legally consume alcohol should not drive if their BAC is over 0.08%. There are lower limits that apply in scenarios involving commercial vehicles or underage drivers. Regardless of the consequences of someone’s alcohol consumption, being over the legal limit is enough to justify criminal charges and may lead to a conviction.
Signs of impaired ability
Some people end up convicted of an OVI offense even after refusing a chemical test because their behavior at the wheel makes it very clear that they were under the influence of some kind of mind-altering substance. Drivers behaving in erratic and unsafe ways could face OVI charges. The same is true of anyone who caused a collision. When there is proof of impairment at the wheel, someone could end up facing OVI charges even without test results or when they seem to be below the legal limit for their BAC.
The circumstances that have led to someone’s arrest will directly influence the best way to defend against those charges. Understanding why Ohio police officers arrest individuals who they suspect of being impaired can help someone to start planning for the best possible defense related to their circumstances.