OVI (Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence)
OVI, sometimes referred to as DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), is a serious offense as it can potentially negatively impact your life in many ways. You can go to jail, receive costly fines, and have your license suspended. Also, it is 6 points on your license. There are potential collateral consequences including, losing your job, your professional license, or being prevented from gaining employment in the field of your choice.
A person is considered to have committed an impaired OVI in violation of Ohio Revised Code 4511.19(A)(1)(a) if under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them.
A person is considered to have committed a per se OVI in violation of Ohio Revised Code 4511.19(A)(1)(d)/(h) if the person has a certain amount of alcohol in their breath, blood, or urine. Out of those three, it is usually an illegal concentration of alcohol in their breath. The illegal concentration is eight-hundredths of one gram or more by weight of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of the person's breath.
A "low-test" is a breath test equal or greater to 0.08 and a "high-test" is equal to or higher than 0.17.
Police are looking for drunk drivers, especially late at night on the weekend. Often people are pulled over near the bar they just left after having a drink with friends or co-workers.
An OVI investigation typically consists of three distinct phases as stated in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Manual: Vehicle in Motion, Personal Contact, and Pre-Arrest Screening. Each phase involves important legal requirements that law enforcement must adhere to. Attorney Christopher Fogt protects the rights of clients by moving to suppress all evidence obtained in violation of the law's requirements. Attorney Fogt is certified in the NHTSA manual just like the police and has 104 hours of Continuing Legal Education classes on OVI alone.
Phase One: Vehicle in Motion
During Phase One, the police observe a vehicle while driving to detect signs of possible impairment. At this stage, the police decide whether sufficient cause exists to initiate a traffic stop. Examples of signs of impairment are swerving, delayed response to traffic signals, and driving at an inconsistent or unusually slow speed.
Phase Two: Personal Contact
During Phase Two, police make face-to-face contact after initiating a traffic stop. Police then decide whether sufficient cause exists to require the driver to exit the vehicle. Examples of signs of impairment during Phase Two include bloodshot or glossy eyes, slurred speech, and the odor of an alcoholic beverage.
Phase Three: Pre-Arrest Screening
During Phase Three, police conduct field sobriety tests and ask the person to take a breathalyzer. At this stage, police decide whether sufficient probable cause exists to arrest a driver for OVI. Examples of signs of impairment during Phase Three include jerking of eyes during a nystagmus test, using arms to balance during walk and turn test, hopping during a one leg stand test, and failing or refusing a blood alcohol content test.
Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
Police officers utilize three field sobriety tests when attempting to determine whether an individual is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. They are Horizontal Gaze Nygstagmus (HGN), Walk and Turn, and One-Leg Stand. Field sobriety tests are very difficult to perform even while sober. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides law enforcement with proper procedures for conducting field sobriety tests (FST's). Officers frequently fail to administer field sobriety tests in substantial compliance with NHTSA instructions, which compromises the validity of the tests and may lead to the tests being suppressed.
For details-OVI-Field Sobriety Tests (FST's)
Horizontal Gaze Nygstagmus
The officer will ask you to follow his finger or a pen as he slowly moves it across your field of vision to determine whether there is an involuntary jerking of your eyes.
Walk and Turn
The officer will ask you to put one foot in front of another as he explains the instructions. The officer will ask you to take 9 heel-to-toe steps along a real or an imaginary line without using your arms to balance. Once you have completed the 9 steps, you are instructed to take a series of small steps to turn around and then take another 9 heel-to-toe steps along the same real or imaginary line without using your arms to balance.
The officer will ask you to stand on one leg, keep your arms down to your sides while counting to 30.
You are not under any legal obligation to do any FST's.
Attorney Christopher Fogt is certified in field sobriety tests just like police officers and has 104 hours of Continuing Legal Education classes on OVI alone. It is highly recommended to only hire an attorney for your OVI case that is certified. Do not trust that an attorney who is not certified in FST's can review a video of an OVI stop and help you.
Portable Breathalyzer Test (PBT)
The police may ask you to blow into a portable breathalyzer. This result cannot be admitted into evidence. The reason is that these hand-held machines are highly unreliable. However, a prosecutor is likely to use a high result against you when negotiating with your attorney. It is recommended that you do not blow into an PBT.
There are three types of BAC testing: breath, blood, and urine. Breath testing is the most common method but it is also the least accurate. BAC testing must comply with certain laws and regulations to be considered valid and false positives can occur even if police follow all necessary protocol. For example, breath contaminants such as mouthwash, acetone, or cigarette smoke can produce false positives. In addition, failing to administer, check, and calibrate BAC instruments in accordance with Ohio regulations can also compromise validity. Attorney Christopher Fogt has the legal expertise to successfully challenge and suppress faulty BAC tests.
You are not required to take a breathalyzer.
What Happens If I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?
Refusing to submit to a chemical test for blood alcohol concentration, results in an immediate Administrative License Suspension (ALS) and an automatic high test BAC concentration.
Ohio OVI Chart from Garfield Heights Municipal Court provides details on potential penalties for jail time, fines, license suspension, restricted plates, and interlock device. It is very helpful.
If you have been charged with or convicted of OVI, you may be eligible to request driving privileges. Driving privileges are generally granted for limited necessary purposes such as traveling to work or school. Driving privilege eligibility depends on multiple factors including the number of prior OVI convictions, the amount of time that has passed since prior OVI convictions, the type of drug consumed, BAC level, and whether a chemical test was refused. Driving privileges are not a guaranteed right. Driving privileges are granted or denied at the discretion of the assigned judge or magistrate. Hiring an experienced OVI attorney is crucial to present a compelling argument. Attorney Christopher Fogt has helped many clients move on with their lives by convincing courts to grant driving privileges.
Motion to Suppress
Attorney Fogt may file a motion to suppress in your case if police did not have probable cause to stop your vehicle, extended the traffic stop without reasonable suspicion, did not substantially comply with the FST's, did not have probable cause to arrest you, and other reasons to protect your legal interests and rights.
Resolving an OVI
Attorney Fogt often resolves his clients OVI's to a lesser traffic offense like Having Physical Control While Under the Influence or Reckless Operation, which are much more favorable to the client. Physical Control and Reckless Operation do not carry any mandatory jail time or mandatory fine. Also, a Physical Control does not add any points to your license and Reckless Operation adds only 4 points. Further, there is no restricted plates or an interlock device. Finally, clients typically are not placed on supervised probation.
Fogt Law Office Can Help You
Attorney Fogt is certified in the NHTSA manual just like the police and has 104 hours of Continuing Legal Education classes on OVI alone. Attorney Fogt closely reviews the police report, the video of the FST's, and even visits the scene to provide the best representation he can for his clients.
Attorney Fogt practices in Federal Court and all over the State of Ohio including, but not limited to Montgomery County, Greene County, Miami County, Warren County, Hamilton County, Clark County, Franklin County. Attorney Fogt also practices in Kettering, Miamisburg, Dayton, Xenia, Fairborn, Springboro, Clark, and Lebanon Municipal Courts as well as others.