Steve Palmer

Why people often can’t tell if they’re at risk of an OVI arrest

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | DUI & OVI

In Ohio, operating a vehicle impaired (OVI) charges can result in a variety of penalties. People do not need to cause collisions or injuries to other people for the state to prosecute them. In fact, contrary to what people often assume, there does not even need to be clear evidence of diminished driving ability for the state to convict someone of an OVI offense.

Under current Ohio statutes, anyone who is over the legal limit for their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) could be at risk of arrest and prosecution. Although many people think they can tell when they have had too much to drink, that is not necessarily true.

Different people have different tolerance levels

Contrary to what people frequently assume, not everyone who has an elevated level of alcohol in their bloodstream shows obvious signs of impairment. People who frequently drink might feel minimal impairment despite being over the legal limit for their BAC.

As someone’s BAC rises, their ability to self-evaluate generally declines. People who slur their words and stumble around may think that they are sober enough to drive. Even those who check with others to verify that they appear sober could be over the legal limit if they perform a chemical test. They may then be at risk of arrest and prosecution if they drive after having had too much to drink.

The state does not need to prove that someone was dangerous while driving to bring charges against them successfully in criminal court. All Ohio prosecutors need to convince the courts of is that someone’s BAC is over the limit for their age and license type.

Most adult drivers are at risk of arrest when their BAC reaches 0.08%, but the state can also prosecute people for lower alcohol levels if they are under the age of 21 or in control of a commercial vehicle. Ideally, people should try to give themselves adequate time to metabolize alcohol after drinking. People usually require one hour per beverage, although other factors may affect how someone metabolizes alcohol.

Those arrested for an OVI who believe that test results show an inaccurately high BAC could factor that into their defense strategy. Fighting back against OVI charges is a realistic option, especially if the only evidence against someone is a breath test result.