In the state of Ohio an individual can be legally arrested for driving with a blood alcohol content above the legal limit. The United States sets a federal maximum blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent. If an individual is found to have a blood alcohol content over this limit, he or she will be arrested and charges will follow.
Under Ohio law, an individual may be prosecuted for having a certain level of alcohol in his or her body. A prosecutor may bring an individual to court under these terms, called per se laws. While in court the prosecuting attorney will provide the blood alcohol content report as evidence. If the court finds the report to be in order the individual will be convicted of driving under the influence.
An individual can also be charged with impairment. Impairment and per se charges are different with different punishments. Because impairment charges are more severe, they are often more difficult to convict. When prosecuting under impairment charges, an attorney will provide evidence to show that the individual was impaired while driving. Evidence can include driving patterns, physical appearance, field sobriety tests, blood alcohol content levels, urine tests, and breath tests.
However simply because an individual had a blood alcohol content over the legal limit does not mean that he or she was impaired, so charges may be dismissed. On the other hand an individual may be charged with impairment even if his or her blood alcohol content was below the legal limit.
Driving under the influence cases are normally tried by a jury of six but can also be tried by a judge, if an individual chooses as such.
Operating Under the Influence
An individual can also be charged with operating under the influence. Under these circumstances an individual does not necessarily need to be in motion to be operating the motor vehicle. Ohio law states that if an individual is in the driver’s seat and the keys are close enough to operate the motor vehicle, he or she can be prosecuted on these charges. Under operating under the influence offenses as long as an individual has control of the motor vehicle in any fashion, such charges can apply.
Kinds of Motor Vehicles
In Ohio the term motor vehicle does not necessarily mean only cars. Motor vehicle also includes bicycles, motorcycles, and other mobile devices requiring something other than human energy to operate. These devices can also include tractors, gold carts, mounted bicycles, and riding lawnmowers.
Punishments for driving under the influence in Ohio are based on prior offenses and aggravated circumstances. Punishments often include probation, fines, jail time, driver’s license suspension, community service, and alcohol education courses. The number of prior driving under the influence offenses dictates the severity of a current offense.
The charges will increase exponentially. If a minor was in the motor vehicle upon arrest, if the individual was speeding, if the individual had a blood alcohol content double the legal limit, if another individual was injured, or if another individual was killed then charges will increase severely, despite the number of prior offenses.