Alcohol (even in low doses) dulls the signals that travel from your brain to your body. The result is diminished concentration, judgment, and reaction. Your brain says stop, but your body doesn’t get the message until it’s too late.
Every day, almost 30 people die from drunk driving accidents in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 402 people died from drunk driving accidents in Ohio alone in 2018—that’s more than 1 person every single day.
In Ohio, driving under the influence (DUI) is referred to as operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI). The state’s OVI law, which can be found in Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 4511.19 states that:
“No person shall operate any vehicle if the person is under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them.”
The legal limit in Ohio is .08 BAC.
However, you can be convicted of OVI if your BAC is less than .08, so long as other evidence shows that you’re impaired.
A government-commissioned report by a panel of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommended significantly lowering drunk driving thresholds from .08 to .05. Thus far, all states (with the exception of Utah) set the threshold at .08.
When you operate a motor vehicle in Ohio, you automatically give consent allowing Ohio police to test your blood, urine, or breath to determine if you’re driving under the influence, so long as the officer has reasonable cause to believe you’re driving under the influence — or if you’re under the age of 21 and have consumed any alcohol.
This is referred to as the state’s “implied consent law.”
If you refuse to submit to testing, your license will automatically be suspended for 1 year (for a first offense). What’s more, the officer has the legal right to “employ whatever reasonable means are necessary” to ensure that you submit to testing.
Penalties for OVI depend on the number of convictions the offender has had within the last 10 years.
|Penalties for driving under the influence in Ohio|
|First offense||3 days to 6 months||$327-$1,075||1-3 years|
|Second offense||10 days to 6 months||$525-$1,625||1-7 years|
|Third offense||30 days to 1 year||$850-$2,750||2-12 years|
A driver with a BAC of .17 or more will be convicted of an “aggravated OVI” and will be subject to increased penalties. In addition, a judge will generally include substance treatment as part of the OVI sentencing regardless of the offense.
Dram shop laws address whether an employer or owner of an establishment (usually a restaurant or bar) can be held liable for a crash caused by a drunk driver who was served at the establishment.
Let’s look at a fictional example where an establishment might be held liable:
Now let’s look at a real-life example where an establishment was NOT held liable:
If you’re hit by a drunk driver, you should call the police immediately. When authorities arrive, explain that you suspect the other driver is intoxicated. Your statement may help the police officer establish the necessary reasonable grounds to administer a field sobriety test.
Additionally, you’ll want to call an ambulance (or have someone call an ambulance for you) if you’ve been injured. If you don’t believe you’ve been injured, you should still see a doctor following a car accident. Some injuries don’t show symptoms for days or even weeks after an accident. Seeing a doctor after your accident helps ensure you are physically okay and also helps begin a paper trail should you decide to file an insurance claim or lawsuit at a later date.
Once the authorities have been alerted and you make sure you're physically okay, contact a personal injury attorney near you.
In Ohio, you may be able to recover economic (medical expenses, lost wages, etc.) and noneconomic damages (pain and suffering, etc.).
If you’re still looking for OVI information and help, the following resources may prove useful: