There are few things more intimidating than seeing an officer’s red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror. If an officer pulls you over and accuses you of driving while under the influence, that charge may permanently transform your life. What’s the difference, though, between a DUI and an OVI in Ohio? Can the difference impact your approach to a case?
Koffel | Brininger | Nesbitt’s team of experienced Columbus OVI lawyers understand that these different acronyms can be confusing. We are the firm other law firms use and recommend!
In reality, there isn’t much of a difference between a DUI and an OVI. Regardless, our team can break the acronyms down and outline what your life may look like should you find yourself having to challenge accusations of drunk driving.
Defining an OVI
The acronym OVI stands for “operating a vehicle under the influence.” Ohio opted to use this turn of phrase instead of DUI, or “driving under the influence,” because “operating a vehicle under the influence” has a broader interpretation. In the eyes of Ohio lawmakers, OVI allows law enforcement to keep a wider breadth of dangerous individuals off of the road.
Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.19 specifically highlights the diversity of vehicles that intoxicated individuals are prohibited from driving. These can include streetcars, trolleys, and boats.
Additionally, the term “intoxicated” doesn’t solely apply to alcohol. With lawmakers across the nation increasingly legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, Ohio’s courts wanted to expand intoxication laws to accommodate for the possibility of public marijuana intoxication. The law also continues to apply to illegal drugs that impair a person’s ability to function.
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Distinguishing Between an OVI, a DWI, and a DUI
The expanded definition of an OVI differentiates it from a DWI (driving while intoxicated) and a DUI (driving under the influence). Outside of that expanded definition, though, there aren’t any differences between these acronyms. Each is designed to allow law enforcement to arrest individuals who are allegedly behaving dangerously on the road.
Notably, Ohio will not classify an arrest as a DWI or a DUI despite the overlap in the circumstances that these acronyms address. If you’re arrested on suspicion of imbibing before operating a vehicle, you will face OVI charges.
Ohio’s Consequences for an OVI
The consequences for an unchallenged OVI vary depending on your existing criminal history as well as the severity of your circumstances. For example, if you get arrested on a first offense, do not injure anyone, and have no other criminal history, you may face:
- Three days of jail time
- Fines of up to $1,075
- A license suspension of up to three years
Say, though, that you get into an accident while allegedly under the influence. Alternatively, say you’ve been arrested and convicted of an OVI before. These circumstances, separately and in tandem with one another, can see you face significantly more jail time and higher fines.
It’s in your best interest to discuss the possible consequences of an unchallenged OVI with an experienced OVI attorney in Ohio. Our team can sit down with you after your arrest to discuss your circumstances and how they may impact your time in court. Koffel | Brininger | Nesbitt ranks among the top one percent of the best lawyers in America.
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How to React to OVI Charges
If you or someone you know has recently been arrested and accused of operating under the influence, you likely have a court date coming up. It’s in your best interest to cooperate with law enforcement throughout this process. A refusal to cooperate can see officers attempt to worsen the consequences you face for your alleged misconduct.
Our team recommends that you get in touch with an experienced representative following an OVI arrest. Experienced criminal defense lawyers can help you navigate the criminal process without worsening the charges brought against you.
We’ve helped thousands of people in your shoes before and know how the prosecution can misrepresent your case. When it comes time to defend you from wrongful accusations, we can argue that:
- You endured wrongful search and seizure
- The arresting officers violated your Miranda Rights
- You were coerced into testing
- Officers improperly engaged in testing procedures
- Officers have misrepresented your state at the time of the arrest
You deserve comprehensive representation in the face of wrongful OVI charges. Let our team defend you today. You’re one call away from feeling better!
The Sooner You Call an Experienced Lawyer, the Better
You do not have to work with an Ohio OVI lawyer to challenge the OVI accusations brought against you. That said, working with an attorney from the get-go can make it easier for you to protect your day-to-day life.
For example, attorneys can intervene between yourself and police officers at the scene of an arrest or after your initial booking. This mediative effort can prevent police officers from exacerbating the accusations brought against you by turning off their body cams or claiming that you behaved belligerently at the scene.
You can contact our law firm immediately following your OVI arrest. According to your federally-established Miranda Rights, you do not have to speak to police officers without a lawyer present. Let our team step in and handle your case so you can get back home as soon as possible. We bring calm to chaos.
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Let Ohio’s OVI Attorneys Represent You
It’s easy to feel like the world’s against you when you’re facing an OVI charge. You’re not alone, though. The OVI attorneys at Koffel | Brininger | Nesbitt have been in this exact situation before, helping people like you protect their lives from wrongful accusations.
We’ve served over 15,000 clients and are prepared to put that experience to use for you. Do you need representation? Call the lawyers who know how to defend you. You can contact our team through our website or by phone to arrange an initial defense consultation. We are available 7 days a week, 7 am – 10 pm.