In Ohio, drivers should be aware that law enforcement is constantly watching for behaviors that might indicate the use of alcohol or drugs. At certain times of the year, there are targeted attempts to catch drivers who might be operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI). This is done in a variety of ways including checkpoints and an increase in law enforcement on the road watching for telltale signs of intoxication. These are common during the holidays or long weekends because people are traveling to parties and visiting family and friends.

State troopers watch for drivers who are committing OVI

Aggressive enforcement is set to take place through Labor Day. In 2019, around 22,000 people were placed under arrest for OVI. There are more than 13,000 accidents in which OVI was a factor. Nearly 600 people died and 8,178 suffered injuries. Still, that does not mean that anyone who is stopped and charged is automatically guilty. The penalties for OVI can be severe and have a dramatic impact on a person’s life.

For a blood alcohol content that is considered “low level,” the person can be jailed for three days, need to take part in a program, be placed on probation for up to five years, be fined between $375 and $1,075, and lose their driving privileges for up to three years. Those whose BAC surpasses .17% will face harsher consequences. In addition to jail time, fines and a possible driver’s license suspension, an OVI can also hinder the person’s future with an arrest record, raised insurance rates and problems achieving their goals.

Formulating a strong defense may require legal help

Even though the case might seem difficult and the charges clear, that does not mean there are no available avenues for a strong defense. For example, when arrested at a checkpoint, the law enforcement officer might not adhere to the proper police procedures required for the evidence meet the necessary standards. This can lead to the charges being dismissed or an acquittal. If the case involves a traffic stop for a separate violation, the evidence must also be scrutinized including the testing procedures and if the driver might have a reasonable excuse for appearing to be under the influence. In any situation with an OVI, having legal assistance may be critical and a firm experienced in OVI and criminal defense might be able to help.