What’s known as a DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated) in most other states is a charge of OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs) in Ohio. It is never in your interest to just roll over and accept an OVI conviction. The stakes — license suspension, fines, increased insurance premiums — are too high.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, any number of defense strategies may be available. Common approaches to challenging an OVI charge include:
Challenge the traffic stop — Under certain circumstances, police can set up roadblocks or checkpoints to randomly check for drunk drivers. But most OVI arrests are made when an officer stops an individual driver for an alleged infraction. To pull you over, the officer must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe you broke the law. If you can establish that the officer stopped you for no good reason, the prosecution will be barred from using any evidence the officer improperly obtained.
Challenge the FST — Police use field sobriety tests (FSTs) to determine whether a motorist is impaired. The accuracy of the tests, however, is often dubious. The most commonly used FSTs are the one-legged stand, the walk and turn and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. If you are elderly, overweight, disabled or ill, you may have trouble performing a field sobriety test even though you are sober.
Challenge the Breathalyzer — If Breathalyzer equipment is not maintained and calibrated properly, it may provide inaccurate data.