Physical Control

Columbus and Delaware, Ohio DUI / OVI Attorney

If you have been charged with DUI / OVI or Physical Control in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio DUI / OVI attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in fighting the charges. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your criminal offense case.

What is Physical Control in Ohio?

Physical control of a vehicle while under the influence is defined in ORC 4511.194. Specifically, it is defined as being in physical control of a vehicle while at the time under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both. However, this definition is not particularly illuminating because what does “physical control” mean? The statute states that “physical control” means being in the driver’s seat of the vehicle and having possession of the vehicle’s ignition key. Unlike DUI/OVI in Ohio, physical control does not require that you operate the vehicle. It is sufficient to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and be seated in the driver’s seat with the ignition keys.

Physical Control vs. DUI/OVI?

Physical control does not require that you operate the vehicle. However, if you are parked somewhere away from your home, officers will assume that you were under the influence prior to parking the vehicle and will charge you with DUI / OVI. This often occurs when a person correctly decides that they cannot drive home, but it is cold outside and they need to run the heat in their vehicle. You should avoid this and, instead, get in the back seat of the vehicle if you need the heat or call a friend for a ride home.

A common resolution in a DUI / OVI case is for the prosecutor, upon defense counsel discovering several weaknesses in the DUI / OVI case, to agree to reduce the DUI / OVI charge to physical control. While physical control is still an alcohol related offense, and cannot be expunged, it does not result in any points being assessed to your driver’s license. This may be an option for you to consider if you are close to the 12-point limit on your driver’s license in Ohio in a 2 year period. If this is not an issue for you, challenging the DUI / OVI case directly or negotiating for a reckless operation change may be an option.

Ohio Physical Control Penalties

Unlike DUI / OVI, there is no mandatory minimum penalty of 3 days in jail and no mandatory driver’s license suspension. However, the penalties for a physical control conviction include up to 6 months in jail, a fine of $1000 and an optional driver’s license suspension of 1 year.

Defenses to Physical Control in Ohio

The best defense to physical control in Ohio is demonstrating that you were not in physical control of the vehicle. This is best done by proving that you were not in the driver’s seat of the vehicle and/or that you did not have the ignition keys in your possession.

Physical control can also be challenged on the grounds that the officer had no reason to suspect you of having engaged in illegal activity or were about to do so, or suspect you of having consumed alcohol or drugs.

A final defense strategy involves questioning whether the officer properly administered or interpreted field sobriety tests.

Columbus and Delaware, Ohio DUI / OVI Attorney

If you have been charged with DUI / OVI or Physical Control in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio DUI / OVI attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in fighting the charges. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your DUI / OVI or Physical Control case.