You may have heard the saying somewhere in Ohio or elsewhere that a bird is still a bird by any other name. In essence, it means that it is not the name that makes a particular item what it is; rather, it is the item’s substance. Call a bird another name and it still doesn’t change the physiological makeup that makes a bird a bird. You can call it a dog if you want, but, scientifically, it’s still a bird. The same goes for certain legal terms, such as those describing driving under the influence of alcohol.
In many states, this type of criminal offense is known as “driving under the influence,” often shortened to DUI. In this state, DUI is actually OVI, or “operating a vehicle, impaired” or “operating a vehicle under the influence.” Sometimes, OVI is referred to as “OWI,” yet, the implication remains the same even though the letters in the abbreviation have changed.
Ohio OVI basics
Just as you need to know how to recognize a bird by its substance so you can better recognize one by its name, so too is it helpful to understand certain legal terms and laws before engaging in or trying to avoid certain behaviors. The following information may help you make responsible choices when it comes to drinking alcohol then driving in Ohio:
- If you choose to drink alcohol then drive in this state, you should know that if police charge you with OVI, you may spend a minimum of three days in jail.
- Even if it’s the first time you’ve ever faced OVI charges, you may also incur substantial fines and automatic license suspension.
- OVI not only pertains to alcohol in particular, but also marijuana, marijuana derivatives and other drugs.
- Ohio operates under implied consent. Therefore, if you refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer or other chemical test when a police officer suspects you of driving while impaired, you become subject to automatic penalties that may include driver’s license suspension.
If you and your friends meet up at a local restaurant to enjoy a few cold ones together and a police officer pulls you over and hits you with drunk driving charges, does it necessarily mean you are going to jail? The answer is a resounding “no,” because there may be several defense strategies you can employ to avoid conviction and mitigate your circumstances.
Fighting such charges in court by yourself may feel a bit like biting off more than you can chew; however, if you do what many other Ohio residents have done in the past and reach out for support by discussing your situation with an experienced criminal defense attorney, you may be able to stay out of jail and get your life back on track without long-term negative consequences.