DUI/OVI v. Physical Control

Is There a Difference Between DUI/OVI and Physical Control in Ohio?

DUI/OVI in Ohio is governed by ORC 4511.19. This statute, and DUI/OVI in general, is very complicated in Ohio and you should hire an attorney immediately if you are charged with DUI/OVI. Call Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC at (614) 987-0192.

A DUI/OVI under ORC 4511.19(A) is operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both, or there is a prohibited concentration of alcohol or drugs in the breath, urine or blood of the individual. The statute defines “operate” as moving or causing the movement of a vehicle. The “vehicle,” however, does not have to be a motor vehicle for a person to be charged with DUI/OVI (i.e., operating a bicycle will suffice).

A first time DUI/OVI offense is a 1st degree misdemeanor, which carries a mandatory 3 days in jail or a driver’s intervention program, up to 6 months in jail, a fine up to $1075, court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment, a 6-month license suspension and 6 points on the person’s license. This offense is enhanceable, which means that future DUI/OVI charges will carry increased penalties.

In order to prove DUI/OVI, the prosecution must prove you were causing or had caused the movement of the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both. If movement of the vehicle cannot be proven, you cannot be convicted of DUI/OVI. However, the prosecution may be able to convict you of “physical control.”

In contrast to DUI/OVI, physical control, pursuant to ORC 4511.194, is defined as being in the driver’s seat of a vehicle while having possession of the ignition key and being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. The vehicle does not have to be driven or even started. Moreover, having the keys in your control or within reach will satisfy the required elements of “physical control.”

Like a DUI/OVI offense, a physical control violation is a 1st degree misdemeanor. Unlike a DUI/OVI offense, however, physical control does not carry minimum penalties. The court generally will give a more lenient sentence to those convicted of physical control, as opposed to DUI/OVI, because the offender was not operating the vehicle and did not place others at risk.

Moreover, physical control convictions do not trigger an enhancement for future convictions, while DUI/OVI convictions do. For example, if you are convicted of DUI/OVI and you had a prior DUI/OVI conviction in the past 6 years, the minimum jail time will increase from 3 days to 10 days. If charged with DUI/OVI with a prior physical control conviction, the minimum jail time remains 3 days. Additionally, no points are assessed for a physical control conviction, while 6 points are assessed for a DUI/OVI conviction.

Finally, in addition to the criminal penalties outlined above, there will be non-criminal penalties as a result of any DUI/OVI or physical control conviction. For instance, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles will require a $475 license reinstatement fee regardless of whether the suspension of your license was the result of a DUI/OVI or physical control conviction.

Columbus and Delaware, Ohio DUI/OVI Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with DUI/OVI or Physical Control in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, call Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, at (614) 987-0192 to discuss your case.

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