In Ohio, the law regarding DUI or Operating a Vehicle while under the Influence is pretty simple. The law provides that no one shall operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. So please understand that one does not have to be “intoxicated” in order to violate this law. The law specifies “Under the Influence,” which is much less than “Intoxication.” Therefore, it is not hard for anyone that is on their way home after having a glass of wine at dinner or a beer or two while watching the game to get charged with this offense. It happens all the time.

Please also understand that a person does not have to be operating a “motor” vehicle in order to violate this statute. There have been cases where people were convicted of OVI for operating a bicycle while “under the influence.” However, at least one court in Ohio has held that a horse is not a “vehicle” for the purposes of the Ohio OVI statute. So you cowboys and cowgirls out there are safe. Furthermore, the “vehicle” does not have to be operated on a public roadway. This means that if you are operating a vehicle in a parking lot, alley, or even in your own yard or own driveway and you are “under the influence,” you could be charged with an OVI. This means that if you are cutting your yard on your riding lawn mower drinking a few beers either before or during the grass cutting and you are “under the influence,” you would be subject to getting charged with violation of this statute. Likewise, if you were “under the influence” and rode your bike down your lane to get the mail or for some other reason, you could be charged with a violation of the OVI statute. So you golfers out there who have a few adult beverages on the course and operate a golf cart, be careful. Those of you who operate snowmobiles or like to go “mudding” with four-wheelers or other types of ATVs beware.

As attorneys, we are always asked, “What do I do if I am stopped by the police and I have been drinking.” You have to know your rights. You need to know what is permissible and what is not. You need to know the legal ramifications of your decisions. You need to know what court you will be cited into. Each court has its little nuances that are unique to that court. Some courts will treat you much harsher for certain actions that you took whereby some courts do not treat you any harsher for your actions. So it is important to know your court and the specific attitude of the court toward your fact situation. This is where we come in. We know all this and more.

So if you have any questions about OVI feel free to call us to discuss all these issues. If you are charged with OVI we have the experience to analyze your case and give you a fair and honest evaluation. An OVI charge is not the end of the world and we can help you navigate your way through this legal maze.