Reckless Operation

Ohio DUI Laws: An Overview

August 12th, 2013

ohio dui lawsThis post collects together in one place many of the Ohio DUI Laws that arise in drunk driving cases.  

Some Ohio DUI laws are listed because law enforcement will charge these offenses to establish probable cause for pulling over your vehicle.  If you need to find out more about a specific law, or how the statute has been interpreted or applied, call Charles M. Rowland II at (937) 318-1384 or read about the specific Ohio DUI law at the Ohio DUI Law Blog.

Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI); O.R.C. 4511.19

This is Ohio’s drunk driving statute (Ohio’s DUI law).  It is a complex and constantly changing statute that encompasses impaired driving by having a prohibited concentration of alcohol or drugs as well as the charge of driving impaired based on no test or a defendant’s refusal to take a chemical test.  The statue has been expanded to include both high-tier and low-tier OVI charges as well as setting the under 21 prohibited concentration.  Ohio DUI laws are complex and require the assistance of an experienced Ohio DUI attorney.

Aggravated Vehicular Homicide; O.R.C. 2903.06

Ohio DUI Laws: Aggravated Vehicular Homicide is a crime that results from the death of another caused by the defendant’soperating a vehicle while impaired (a violation of R.C. 4511.19)  or while driving negligently or recklessly.  The statute  encompasses driving an automobile recklessly or negligently (called Vehicular homicide) whether or not alcohol played a part in the death.

Aggravated Vehicular Assault; O.R.C. 2903.08

Ohio DUI Laws: Aggravated Vehicular Assault is the crime of causing serious physical harm to a person while violating Ohio’s drunk driving statute.

Operating A Vehicle After Underage Consumption (OVUAC); O.R.C. 4511.19(B)

Ohio DUI Laws: O.R.C. 4511.19(B) makes it illegal for persons under 21 years of age to drive a vehicle with a concentration of .02 percent, but less than .08 percent by weight of alcohol by whole blood or breath, or with an equivalent amount by blood serum or plasma or urine.  (1994 S.B. 82, eff. 5/4/94).

Having Physical Control of a Vehicle While Under the Influence (Physical Control); O.R.C. 4511.194

Ohio DUI Laws: The crime of “Physical Control” involves being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a drug of abuse.  This definition means that you do not have to be driving or operating the car.

Reckless Operation; O.R.C. 4511.20

Reckless operation in Ohio can constitute any number of offenses within the Ohio Revised Code dealing with operation of a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard to persons or property. It can be charged as a 3rd degree misdemeanor, a 4th degree misdemeanor or as a minor misdemeanor under Ohio law.

Boating Under the Influence (BUI); O.R.C. 1547.11

Penalties for Boating Under the Influence offenses are set forth at O.R.C. 1547.99 and are similar to those provided for DUI/OVI offenses.  Boating Under the Influence is a first degree misdemeanor and is subject to a minimum 3-day jail sentence and a maximum 6 months in jail.  The 3-day jail sentence can be served in a qualified driver intervention program.  The minimum mandatory fine for a first BUI offense is $150.  The language of the statute is broad, including control of any vessel underway or shall manipulate any water skis, aquaplane, or similar device on Ohio waterways.

Driving in Marked Lanes (Marked Lanes); O.R.C. 4511.33

A marked lanes charge is often a companion charge to a DUI/OVI offense.  It is also a “cue” that the officer may look for based on his/her National Highway Transportation Safety Administration training.

Lanes of travel upon roadways of sufficient width; O.R.C. 4511.25

Going the wrong way on a designated roadway or traveling into the “other” lane may be a violation of the “Lanes of Travel” law.  Some experienced officers choose to charge this offense rather than a Marked Lanes violation or charge this in combination with a Marked Lanes violation.

Turn and Stop Signals; O.R.C. 4511.39

“No person shall turn a vehicle… or move right or left upon a highway unless and until such person has exercised due care to ascertain that the movement can be made with reasonable safety nor without giving an appropriate signal in the manner hereinafter provided. When required, a signal of intention to turn or move right or left shall be given continuously during not less than the last one hundred feet traveled by the vehicle… before turning.”

Underage Consumption or Possession; O.R.C. 4301.69

This statue encompasses the crime of possessing and furnishing alcohol to minors.  If you are under 21 years old, drinking alcohol is illegal in the State of Ohio.  Ohio Revised Code 4301.69(E)(1) provides that “No underage person shall knowingly order, pay for, share the cost of, attempt to purchase, possess, or consume any beer or intoxicating liquor in any public or private place. No underage person shall knowingly be under the influence of any beer or intoxicating liquor in any public place.”  As a parent, you cannot give alcohol to your teen’s friends under the age of 21, under any circumstance, even in your own home, even with their parent’s permission.

Speeding and Assured Clear Distance, Following Too Closely; O.R.C. 4511.21

The speed law is set forth at Ohio Revised Code 4511.21.  It states:(A) No person shall operate a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar at a speed greater or less than is reasonable or proper, having due regard to the traffic, surface, and width of the street or highway and any other conditions, and no person shall drive any motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar in and upon any street or highway at a greater speed than will permit the person to bring it to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead.  The law goes on to set forth the “speed limits” or presumed speed limits.  According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there were more than 65,500 crashes statewide last year because of drivers following too closely. And of those crashes, 58 died and 18,552 were injured.

License Plate Light Not Illuminated, O.R.C. 4513.05

In Ohio, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle without a white light illuminating the rear registration plate. See O.R.C. 4513.05.  This law is often used as a pretext for a traffic stop which allows the officer to come into contact with the motorist. This is among the more “ticky-tack” reasons to pull someone over and the public views this as something of an underhanded trick used by law enforcement to justify a stop.

Driving Under SuspensionO.R.C.4510.14

Driving under an OVI suspension is a violation of Ohio Revised Code 4510.14.  It is a separate offense from a DUI/OVI charge and carries harsh mandatory penalties. With the use of “party plates” which stigmatize people convicted of DUI and their innocent family members, and the increased use of computer license plate readers, Ohioans are seeing an increase in the number of people being ticketed for driving under suspension.

Ohio DUI/OVI Attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671.  You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog.  You can email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.  “All I do is DUI defense.”

 

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville 

OVI or DUI (Which is right?)

June 19th, 2013

DUI Plate Lapel Pin(1)2The current version of Ohio’s impaired driving law is O.R.C. 4511.19, is entitled “Operating vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs – OVI.”  This is the same offense which is also known as DUI (driving under the influence), OMVI (operating a vehicle impaired), DWI (driving while intoxicated) or drunk driving.  The Ohio General Assembly changed the acronym to connote the broadening of the law from simply alcohol impairment to any drug (or condition?) which may impair.  The term “operate” also has a broader definition than that of “driving.”  For example, if a driver is found behind the wheel of a car with the keys within his grasp, the driver is operating the car for the purposes of the Ohio statute.

Vehicle is defined at R.C. 4511.01(A) as

every device, including a motorized bicycle, in, upon, or by which any person or property may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except that “vehicle” does not include any motorized wheelchair, any electric personal assistive mobility device, and device that is moved by power collected from overhead electric trolley wires, or that is used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks, or any device, other than a bicycle, that is moved by human power.

154301095_80_80“Operate” is defined at R.C. 4511.01(HHH) as “to cause or have caused movement.”  But, being found slumped over the wheel of a vehicle whilst the vehicle is running has been found to be operation of the vehicle, State v. Adams, 2007-Ohio-4932 (Ohio Ct. App. 3d Dist. Crawford 2007).  In State v. Mackie, 128 Ohio App.3d 167, 714 N.E.2d 405 (1st Dist. Hamilton County 1998), a defendant’s car was stuck in a snowbank and was incapable of movement.  His conviction was reversed due to insufficient evidence to show intoxication when the vehicle was operable.   The Mackie decision offers a good discussion of the intricacies that are raised by attempting to define “operation.”  What shocks many people is that the car does not have to be running to meet this broader definition as long as the driver is in the driver’s seat and in possession of the vehicles keys or starting fob.  Some states have laws which encourage people who are impaired to pull over – but not Ohio.

If the car is inoperable or if the investigating agency cannot prove the vehicle was “operated,” they may charge the offense of being in physical control of a vehicle while impaired, O.R.C. 4511.194.  The crime of “Physical Control” involves being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a drug of abuse.  This definition means that you do not have to be driving or operating the car. Physical Control is a first degree misdemeanor in Ohio which is punishable by a maximum $1,000.00 fine, a license suspension of up to one year and a maximum jail sentence of six (6) months.  Physical Control is preferable to some commercial drivers because it may not count as a “major incident” for CDL purposes.  Unlike a reckless operation charge (O.R.C. 4511.20), Physical Control carries no “POINTS” on your Ohio license. Physical control is often evaluated in contrast to a reckless operation charge when a reduction to OVI is offered by a prosecutor during plea negotiations.

Reckless operation in Ohio can constitute any number of offenses within the Ohio Revised Code dealing with operation of a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard to persons or property.  Commonly, reckless operation is charged under O.R.C. 4511.20 (all codes sections are set forth below).  There is a separate O.R.C. section dealing with reckless operation while off-road (O.R.C. 4511.201) and while on a watercraft (O.R.C. 1547.07).  O.R.C. 4511.202 is Ohio’s Reasonable Control Statute.

The Ohio Supreme Court, in State v. Earlenbaugh (1985), 18 Ohio St.3d 19, 21-22, stated, “we believe that the statute simply provides two definite and clear bases upon which a finding of guilt may be premised. A person may be found guilty of violating R.C. 4511.20 if he acts willfully. Such conduct implies an act done intentionally, designedly, knowingly, or purposely, without justifiable excuse. Black’s Law Dictionary (5th Ed.1979) 1434. Or conversely, R.C. 4511.20 is violated when a person acts wantonly in disregard of the safety of others. A wanton act is an act done in reckless disregard of the rights of others which evinces a reckless indifference of the consequences to the life, limb, health, reputation, or property of others. (Citations omitted.)”  The statutory definition of reckless operation can be found at Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.20 which states:

4511.20 Operation in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.

(A) No person shall operate a vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street or highway in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.

(B) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one predicate motor vehicle or traffic offense, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of two or more predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.

DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense.  Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available onFacebook and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.

Bears In The Air: OSP To Target Distracted Drivers

June 17th, 2013

6state-headerIf you are driving distracted this week watch out! 

The Ohio State Highway Patrol will be joining forces with other members of the 6-State Trooper Project for a distracted driving enforcement and awareness effort June 16 – 22 in an effort to reduce distracted driving related crashes and raise awareness about the dangers distracted driving creates.  The Patrol’s aviation section will assist road troopers from the air by focusing on crash causing violations that may be caused by distracted driving, including; aggressive driving, marked lanes violations, following too closely and driving left of center.

This effort dove tails with the continuing national Click It or Ticket program.  The 6-State Trooper Project includes the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Kentucky State Police, Indiana State Police, Michigan State Police, Pennsylvania State Police and the West Virginia State Police.  It is a multi-state law enforcement partnership aimed at providing combined and coordinated law enforcement and security services in the areas of highway safety, criminal patrol and intelligence sharing.

Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (1-888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  Immediate help is available by filling out this CONTACT form.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting follow DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook and you can access updates by becoming a fan of Dayton DUI/OVI Defense.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@CharlesRowland.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.

DUI on the Water and the Return of Boating Season

May 1st, 2013

Slalom skier

With the return of the summer boating season, many people will soon be enjoying Ohio’s beautiful lakes and rivers.  This is a reminder that Ohio is cracking down on captains who indulge in alcohol while on the water.  Boating Under the Influence is illegal in Ohio. 2001 Sub. S.B. 123, eff. 1-1-04 sought to unify the drunk driving provisions with Ohio’s boating laws.   O.R.C. 1547.11(A)(1)  to O.R.C. 1547.11(A)(6) prohibit a person from operating or being in physical control of a vessel underway or manipulating water skis, aquaplanes, or similar devices while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

O.R.C. 1547.11(A)(1) is the impairment provision of the law, preventing operation or physical control while under the influence.  The law also has a provision preventing operation with a prohibited level of alcohol which it sets at the same prohibited level (.08) as the DUI/OVI law Unlike the DUI/OVI law, there are no high-tier provisions which apply to boating. A third section of the law prohibits operation or physical control with a concentration of certain controlled substances (marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine, et al.) or metabolites of the same.  This section of the law is identical to the DUI-drug provisions found in O.R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(j).

Subsequent amendments to the law, 2007 Am. Sub. S.B. 17, eff. 9-30-08, allows for forced blood draws for persons with two or BUI offenses.  A BUI offense can be used to enhance a subsequent DUI/OVI  offense. O.R.C. 4511.181(A)(6)-(7).  Some important differences in Ohio’s BUI law, stem from the fact that Ohio does not require an operator’s license to operate a watercraft.  Therefore, no administrative license suspension provisions are in the law.  Instead, the chief of the Division of Watercraft gives written notice that you are prevented from operating or being in physical control of a watercraft (or from registering a watercraft) for one year from the date of the alleged violation.  Another key difference is that a fourth or subsequent BUI offense is not subject to felony enhancement.

Penalties for Boating Under the Influence offenses are set forth at O.R.C. 1547.99 and are similar to those provided for DUI/OVI offenses.  Boating Under the Influence is a first degree misdemeanor and is subject to a minimum 3-day jail sentence and a maximum 6 months in jail.  The 3-day jail sentence can be served in a qualified driver intervention program.  The minimum mandatory fine for a first BUI offense is $150.  A second offense within 6 years carries a mandatory 10 day jail sentence, but the minimum mandatory fine is still $150.  A third offense requires a minimum of 30 days in jail. NOTE: The Ohio legislature is constantly “tweaking” the Ohio DUI and BUI laws, so please check with an attorney as these laws may have changed.

Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (1-888-769-5263). For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting follow DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook and you can access updates by becoming a fan of Dayton DUI/OVI Defense.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@CharlesRowland.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.

Physical Control & Reckless Operation

February 6th, 2013

All-I-do-Is-DUI-DefenseOften, a client will be presented with a plea offer involving a reduction to a charge called “physical control.”  Physical control is the crime of being in control of a car while you are impaired.  It is a zero point violation under Ohio law and does not carry a mandatory license suspension.  Physical control is usually contrasted with a Reckless Operation.  To determine which reduction is advantageous, we offer this article.  Please talk to your attorney prior to accepting a “physical control” or a “reckless operation” as both have definite pros and cons.

The crime of “Physical Control” involves being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a drug of abuse.  This definition means that you do not have to be driving or operating the car.  If a person is in the driver’s position of the front seat of a vehicle, or in the driver’s position of a streetcar, or trackless trolley and having possession of the vehicle’s, streetcar’s or trackless trolley’s key, or other ignition device that person is in “physical control” of the vehicle.  See Cincinnati v. Kelley, 47 Ohio St.2d 94, 351 N.E.2d 85 (1976).

Vehicle is defined at R.C. 4511.01(A) as

every device, including a motorized bicycle, in, upon, or by which any person or property may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except that “vehicle” does not include any motorized wheelchair, any electric personal assistive mobility device, and device that is moved by power collected from overhead electric trolley wires, or that is used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks, or any device, other than a bicycle, that is moved by human power.

Thus, one could be convicted of Physical Control of a bicycle, but not a unicycle, tricycle, wheelbarrow or shopping cart. This same quirky logic applies to Ohio’s OVI (drunk driving) statute, R.C. 4511.19.

“Operate” is defined at R.C. 4511.01(HHH) as “to cause or have caused movement.”  But, being found slumped over the wheel of a vehicle whilst the vehicle is running has been found to be operation of the vehicle, State v. Adams, 2007-Ohio-4932 (Ohio Ct. App. 3d Dist. Crawford 2007).  In State v. Mackie, 128 Ohio App.3d 167, 714 N.E.2d 405 (1st Dist. Hamilton County 1998), a defendant’s car was stuck in a snowbank and was incapable of movement.  His conviction was reversed due to insufficient evidence to show intoxication when the vehicle was operable.   The Mackie decision offers a good discussion of the intricacies that are raised by attempting to define “operation.”

Physical Control is a first degree misdemeanor in Ohio which is punishable by a maximum $1,000.00 fine, a license suspension of up to one year and a maximum jail sentence of six (6) months.  Physical Control is preferable to some commercial drivers because it may not count as a “major incident” for CDL purposes.  Unlike a reckless operation charge (O.R.C. 4511.20), Physical Control carries no “POINTS” on your Ohio license.  The court may also require the defendant to attend a 3-day weekend intervention alcohol education course.  Another major benefit of the Physical Control statute (which is also true of Reckless Operation) is that whereas prior OVI convictions trigger enhanced minimum penalties for future OVI convictions, prior physical control convictions would not trigger those enhanced penalties for future OVI convictions.

Reckless operation in Ohio can constitute any number of offenses within the Ohio Revised Code dealing with operation of a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard to persons or property.  Commonly, reckless operation is charged under O.R.C. 4511.20 (all codes sections are set forth below).  There is a separate O.R.C. section dealing with reckless operation while off-road (O.R.C. 4511.201) and while on a watercraft (O.R.C. 1547.07).  O.R.C. 4511.202 is Ohio’s Reasonable Control Statute.

The Ohio Supreme Court, in State v. Earlenbaugh (1985), 18 Ohio St.3d 19, 21-22, stated, “we believe that the statute simply provides two definite and clear bases upon which a finding of guilt may be premised. A person may be found guilty of violating R.C. 4511.20 if he acts willfully. Such conduct implies an act done intentionally, designedly, knowingly, or purposely, without justifiable excuse. Black’s Law Dictionary (5th Ed.1979) 1434. Or conversely, R.C. 4511.20 is violated when a person acts wantonly in disregard of the safety of others. A wanton act is an act done in reckless disregard of the rights of others which evinces a reckless indifference of the consequences to the life, limb, health, reputation, or property of others. (Citations omitted.)”  The statutory definition of reckless operation can be found at Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.20 which states:

4511.20 Operation in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.

(A) No person shall operate a vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street or highway in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.

(B) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one predicate motor vehicle or traffic offense, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of two or more predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.

DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in Fairborn, Dayton, Springfield, Kettering, Vandalia, Xenia, Miamisburg, Springboro, Huber Heights, Oakwood, Beavercreek, Centerville and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense.  Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.