Driving while under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous to yourself and those around you. Everyone knows how easy it is to get into a crash if you drive drunk. However, if you’re intoxicated and sitting in your car with the engine off, there’s no real risk that you’ll hurt someone, right?
Unfortunately, Ohio doesn’t see it that way. You can still face criminal charges, even if you’re not actively driving. It’s important to understand how the laws around drunk driving work so that you can prevent getting arrested in the first place or come up with a defense strategy if you’ve already been charged.
What is a DUI vs. OVI?
There are two main types of charges for driving while intoxicated: DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired). There isn’t a substantial difference between the two charges, however. You can be charged with an OVI for operating any kind of vehicle while impaired–not just a motor vehicle.
In most OVI or DUI cases, an officer notices a driver behaving strangely on the road and pulls them over. If they believe the driver is impaired, they might ask them to submit to field sobriety tests and/or place them under arrest. It’s important to note that you are not required to take these field sobriety tests, even if they are requested.
Can You Be Charged With a DUI/OVI While Parked?
Ohio drivers don’t necessarily have to be driving to be charged with an OVI or DUI. In Ohio, if you have “physical control” of the vehicle (meaning that the keys are within your reach), you can still be arrested and charged.
This means that not only can you be charged with a DUI or OVI while your vehicle is parked, it doesn’t even have to be running. You could be asleep in the driver’s seat without the heater or air conditioning on and still violate drunk driving laws if your keys are within reach. “Sleeping it off” in the car might be the safer option, but it’s no different from driving drunk, according to Ohio state law.
How Can I Contest a DUI or OVI Charge?
If you’ve been arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence, it’s important to find an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you right away. A DUI or OVI conviction can lead to fines, jail time, and/or license suspension. It can also affect your ability to find work and get to and from your job.
To learn more about your options for your situation, reach out to our defense lawyers in Cincinnati. Our attorneys can help you decide how to move forward with your case. Call 513-579-9500 today for a consultation.