Ohio DUI – What Is “Operating a Vehicle”

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In order to be convicted of an Ohio DUI offense, not only must you have blood levels above legal limits for alcohol or drugs, but you also must be “operating” a “motor vehicle.” In order to better understand what this entails, you need to know how to define these two terms correctly.

What Is a Vehicle?

Unde Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.01, a vehicle is anything motorized that has the goal of transporting or drawing someone on a highway. The only motorized vehicle that is not considered a “vehicle” by this definition is a motorized wheelchair or similar personal assistive device, including a personal delivery device or “micro-mobility device.”

Under this law, smaller vehicles, such as motorized bikes and golf carts, fit in the definition. You can also be convicted of a DUI, also known as an OVI (operating a vehicle impaired), if you are operating a boat or ATV. Thus, if you are under the influence, opting to take a motorized bike or golf cart is not safer or in line with the law. You still stand the risk of being convicted of a DUI.

What Is “Operating”?

Second, in order to be convicted of an OVI, you must be operating the vehicle. The state’s law indicates operating is causing or having caused the vehicle to move. Sitting in the vehicle, without the keys in the ignition or the intention of driving is not considered operating.

The best way to define the operation of a vehicle in this regard is through movement. If the vehicle does not move, you are likely not operating. There are additional offenses that can apply here, though. You could be in “Physical Control of a Vehicle Under the Influence,” which is still a crime and may still require the help of an Ohio criminal defense attorney, but it has lesser penalties.

Proving DUI/OVI in Ohio

If you are charged with this crime, it is the prosecution’s job to prove that you are both “operating” and that the thing you were operating was a “vehicle.” By working with a DUI attorney Bowling Green and Findlay area residents can improve the chances that they can get the charges dismissed by finding fault in the prosecution’s case. It is actually difficult to prove blood levels accurately, and often technicalities happen that cause the case to be dismissed, and an Ohio criminal defense attorney can help you find these.

A conviction of a DUI/OVI crime in Ohio brings stiff consequences. Through the help of a criminal lawyer Findlay residents can reduce their chances of a conviction, thus reducing the risk of hefty fines and other legal penalties.

In addition, with these charges you don’t have a lot of time to make a decision. You must appear before the courts within five days, so you need to decide whether you will plead guilty or fight your charges. To decide, it’s always best to at least consult with an attorney. Choose the top criminal defense attorney Bowling Green and Findlay offer to improve your chances of success in your cast, and act quickly so you don’t miss this important window. Reach out to the Skip Potter Law Office to schedule a consultation to discuss your case now.

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