How Ohio Charges for DUI
Many of my clients are rightly upset by how confusing the DUI/OVI process is in Dayton. There’s the instant license suspension that goes with being arrested – not convicted – that has to be attended to separately from the court proceedings, and then there are the two line items on the ticket that don’t make any sense – “appreciable impairment” and “per se.”
Basically, OVI is charged in two ways in Ohio, and can be seen as a process of events. First, your ticket will show the initial infraction that resulted in the stop, something like speeding, weaving, failure to stop, or similar.
Once you’ve been stopped, police officers are trained to look for signs of “appreciable impairment.” This would include factors like the smell of alcohol or drugs, slurred speech, cognitive or behavioral disorientation, or motor control and reflex problems. The field sobriety tests that you see on TV shows (walk in a straight line, put your index finger to your nose, say the alphabet) are designed to test for irregularities in speech and motor control.
“Appreciable Impairment” can be alleged purely on the say-so of a police officer, and has no real objective guidelines to measure it. If a police officer believes you are impaired, you are, according to the law, Appreciably Impaired.
Once an officer makes this designation, you can be arrested and chemical testing can be ordered. You may refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer, or to give blood or urine (or agree to one but refuse another…), but doing so violates Ohio’s Implied Consent statute and authorizes the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to suspend your license. If you choose to submit to chemical testing, that evidence may then be used to produce the Per Se allegation.
Think about it like this: Let’s say you were pulled over because, according to the police, you didn’t come to a full stop at a stop sign. Once pulled over, the officer believed he smelled alcohol and thought you had slurred your words. He decided you were Appreciably Impaired by alcohol, and asked you to submit to a Breathalyzer test. You agreed, and the Breathalyzer test showed a BAC of .09. Since it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 or higher in Ohio, you are alleged to be, Per Se, impaired.
Again, an allegation of wrongdoing isn’t the same as wrongdoing, and certainly isn’t the same as a conviction. At Patituce & Associates, we help people just like you, who’ve been through scenarios very similar to this one – as well as situations that are very different. We know there are a lot of ways to fight a DUI/OVI charge in Ohio, and we’re experts at doing just that.
If you’ve been charged with DUI/OVI in Dayton, don’t risk your future. We are former prosecutors who know exactly how the system works, and we’ll fight for you. Call Patituce & Associates at 937-660-5141 for a free, no obligation consultation with Dayton’s most experienced DUI/OVI lawyers.