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DUI / OVI Defense

Have you been charged an OVI offense?

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Ohio’s DUI statute is in O.R.C. 4511.19 titled, “Operating vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs – OVI.”  We shorten this down to OVI.  In 2001 the Ohio legislature changed the definition of Driving in the DUI statute to Operating and modified the penalties.

On your citation or ticket, you will see the Under the Influence box checked in most cases and a separate charge if you tested over the legal limit or refused and have a prior OVI in the last 20 years.

You might also have a traffic violation on the ticket.  Tickets in Ohio have changed recently, and you might find your next court date at the top or bottom.  This date will be set within 5 business days from your ticket date.  This is due to the law that says if your license is suspended from a test over the limit or refusal, you have a right to Due Process in the form of a hearing at the arraignment which will be done at the first court date.

Do's and Do Nots of Getting Pulled Over


  • Signal and pull over.
  • Stop in a safe place.
  • Comply with orders from police:
    • “Put the car in park.”
    • “Turn off the radio.”
    • “Roll down the window.”
    • “Give me your license, registration, and insurance.”
    • “Step out of the vehicle.”
    • “Put your hands behind your back.”
  • Identify yourself by name, date of birth, and social security number especially if you do not have your license. Give it to them if you have it.
  • Identify whether you have a CCW Permit or Firearm.
  • Be polite.
  • Inform the officer that you invoke your right to remain silent.
    • There is a good chance that you are being recorded on high quality audio and video.

Do Not:

  • Make admissions.
    • You do not need to answer where you are coming from or going to.
    • You do not have to admit to drinking alcohol.
  • Reach where the officer can’t see your hands without permission.
  • Move around in the vehicle. The officer is watching you. They will assume you are hiding drugs or guns and it will raise their blood pressure. This is not the way to get off to a good start.
  • Consent to a search.
  • Resist or fail to comply with orders.
  • Tell the officer they should be out looking for worse criminals or talk to them about race, quotas, or your political views.
  • Be rude or disrespectful.
  • Take any field sobriety tests.
  • Take any roadside breath tests.
  • Take any blood, breath, or urine tests at the station or hospital without consulting with a lawyer first.

The officer is looking for specific things when they pull you over that will tip them off that you might be drunk. Most DUI arrests occur on a weekend and after dark, especially after bars close vs. Tuesday at noon or morning and evening rush hour.

They will consider where you are stopped. Are you near a bar or did you admit to coming from a place that serves alcohol, like a bar? They will observe your driving to see if it is erratic. They listen to the police radio for calls from other drivers that report erratic and possible drunken driving.

Just about every police car has a license plate that has the number on it to report a drunk driver. They look into your eyes to see if they are red, bloodshot, glassy, or glazed. They will listen to how you speak. They are looking for slurred speech, slow speech, deliberate speech, repeated words, and unusual statements.

Mental confusion about time, place, and location is a sign of impairment. Whether there is an odor of alcohol or drugs from the car and more importantly the driver. They will gauge the intensity of the odor and classify it as slight, moderate, strong, or very strong.

Your demeanor can be a sign of impairment if you are overly nervous, shaking, sweating when it is not hot out, fumbling of your license, producing a library card or credit card and not your driver’s license, falling over when exiting the car, stumbling, leaning on the car, unsteady walking, etc.

Lastly, they will want you to tell them how much drugs and alcohol you consumed, and where and when you consumed it. A dead giveaway is the appearance of your clothing when it shows vomit, urine, etc. They will also look for cover scents like mints, mouth wash, and smoking cigarettes.

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