True Story: A client called wanting to hire us to defend him on an OVI charge. Here’s the story:
Client: “Over the weekend, I was pulled over and was arrested for OVI. The breathalyzer results had me well over the limit, but don’t worry, I’ve got a great defense. I saw a way to beat OVI charges on YouTube. When the officer approached my car, I opened a beer and drank the whole thing right in front of him.” (Insert wide-eyed emoji)
Attorney: You did what???
Client: “I thought it was a great defense. Am I wrong?”
Attorney: “Great defense? I certainly wouldn’t have recommended it, but I do see your point: since some of the alcohol was consumed after the driving was done, how could the breath test results be used in court?
Client: “Exactly, and now he can’t convict me, right?”
Attorney: It’s not that simple, plus, now you’ve added an open container charge, and worse, your creative antics will be considered by the judge during your sentencing.
The Law: In Ohio, you may be convicted of OVI even without breathalyzer test results if the officer can convince the jury that you were impaired while driving. To do this, he’ll testify about his observations of your driving, your conduct after the stop, alcohol smell, glassy, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and your attitude. AND these observations may be recorded on video. In this case, a video is worth 1,000 words.
Suppose you decide to submit to a breathalyzer and your test results are more than the legal limit? In that case, those test results are presumed to be conclusive evidence of operating a vehicle while impaired.
Client: “So, should I have refused to take the breathalyzer test?”
Attorney: “So many factors go into that decision, and regardless, you’re still in a big mess. A refusal will result in an automatic driver’s license suspension, as will a failed test. On the other hand, if you did take the test and failed, you’ve given the prosecutor conclusive proof of your impairment.”
With the Labor Day holiday approaching, State and Local authorities will be stepping up their OVI patrols. Be smart. Have a designated driver, use a ride service or call a sober friend for a ride. The greatest defense to an OVI charge is not to be impaired while driving.
If you have questions about your rights when charged with an OVI, our law firm can help. Knowing your rights is imperative, as is fully understanding the consequences of an OVI conviction.
If you have any questions about this article or other criminal or traffic law concerns, please contact L. Michael Bly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 937-223-1130.