Driving under the influence (DUI) and operating a vehicle impaired (OVI) actually refer to the same thing: operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While people interchangeably use DUI and OVI, Ohio legislation made OVI the proper term in the state.
What changed in Ohio DUI laws to make OVI the new term?
In the past, Ohio DUI laws prohibited driving a motorized vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In the 1980s, Ohio changed the terminology to operating a motor vehicle impaired (OMVI). The Ohio legislature then changed the statutes again to remove the requirement that a vehicle be “motorized,” creating the current term, operating a vehicle impaired, or OVI.
This made it illegal to operate any type of conveyance while drunk or drugged. That vehicle can be any type of transportation conveyance, from a bicycle to a horse-drawn carriage. Therefore, the term OVI is now standard for use in discussing accidents caused by drunk or drugged drivers.
What are the Ohio DUI laws now that the term has changed?
The Ohio DUI laws have not changed; the terminology is the only thing that changed, and even so, many still use the two terms, OVI and DUI, interchangeably. The legal limits for blood alcohol concentration (BAC), breath alcohol content (BrAC), blood serum/plasma, and urine testing are still the same.
- BAC or BrAC of 0.08 for drivers 21 and over (0.02 for drivers under 21).
- Blood serum or plasma of 0.096 for drivers 21 and over (0.03 for drivers under 21).
- Urine sample of 0.11 for drivers 21 and over (0.028 for drivers under 21).
Any amount of an illegal drug found in the driver’s system can result in OVI charges, and severe impairment by prescription or over-the-counter medications may also result in OVI charges.
Does it matter if the driver who hit me was charged with OVI?
OVI charges are an important part of the evidence you present if you are filing a claim against a drunk driver who caused your accident. In order to recover damages for a car accident in Ohio, you must prove that the other driver was liable for the accident. If the driver was operating her vehicle while impaired, as long as there is a police report or criminal record that shows an OVI charge, that can serve as evidence to corroborate your liability claim against that driver.
Remember that you should leave the accusations of OVI to the police officer at the scene. Do not speculate on the other driver’s sobriety, and do not accuse her of OVI in any manner such as on social media or to your insurance adjuster. Until you have an official record that shows she was operating her vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should stick to the facts about your car accident that you can prove.
Gallon, Takacs, Boissoneault & Schaffer Co., L.P.A. helps Ohio families recover from these traumatic accidents and get the financial compensation they deserve. Contact our office today to set up a free consultation, or call us directly at 419-843-6663 to learn about your options to file an injury claim.