Can I Get a Ticket if My Friend’s Drinking in My Car?

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What is the difference between a DUI and an OVI? Can I be charged if my friend is drinking in the passenger seat or back of the car? How can I defend a DUI charge?

What’s the Difference Between A DUI And An OVI?

Just because you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), it doesn’t mean you are guilty. That is why it’s important to contact an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Ohio law (ORC 4510) states that it is illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 or higher but DUI is just one type of charge that falls under Ohio laws against Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence (OVI). Police will pull a vehicle over if they suspect any type of drug or alcohol use in the vehicle. Indicators can include speeding, swerving, a burnt-out headlight or taillight, running a stop sign, or failure to signal properly. During initial contact, they will note other observations of you and your passengers.

Can I Be Charged If My Friend Is Drinking While I Am Driving?

The short answer is yes in Ohio and most other states. Your friend and you can both be charged with Open Container (ORC 4301.62), a misdemeanor of the fourth degree (M4). The consequences for an M4 are a maximum of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine. However, other charges may often follow, and the fines apply to each open container in the vehicle. An experienced Delaware, Ohio criminal defense attorney can help mitigate those charges.

Can I Be Charged If I’m Just Sitting In The Vehicle?

Open container is criminal charge that applies to anyone in possession of an open container in public areas where there is not a local exemption. When the person is in a vehicle, the fines and charges can be even heftier. Even if the vehicle is not moving but is in a public area, such as a roadside or public access area, you will be charged. DUI and OVI charges can also apply to such public places.

When it comes to an OVI or DUI charge, it’s not just your record and wallet you should worry about. If you are under the legal drinking age or a professional in driving or other lines of work, it could result in much greater penalties. Law enforcement will use the evidence they gather to make their case, which can be shared with your employing organization, sometimes costing your driver’s license, job, and/or professional license.

  • If a driver is under the legal drinking age, a BAC of .02 is enough to get arrested for DU/OVI.
  • If you are a professional driver, a BAC over .04 will have the same result.
  • For a driver’s second DUI within 10 years, much larger maximum penalties apply.

How Can I Defend A DUI Charge?

There are several ways police can collect evidence to demonstrate that there is more than an open container charge at hand.

  • Often, they will ask you to take a field sobriety test, which will give them all they need to take evidence collection further.
  • Law enforcement can test alcohol through any of the ways that alcohol exits the human body. In addition to having your blood directly tested for alcohol they may want to test through your urine, breath, or sweat.
  • Section 4511.19 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) lists methods used to measure the concentration of alcohol or other drugs in your blood system.

It’s important to remember that taking a measure of your biologics constitutes a search and seizure. This is where an experienced Delaware, Ohio criminal defense attorney will be critical to defending your rights!

How Can An Attorney Help With A DUI Charge?

Hiring a defense attorney is of utmost importance because OVI and DUI charges are extremely technical involving the scientific processes listed above. These processes must be done in a certain order and within a certain time frame. Before agreeing to perform any sort of sobriety test, contact a Delaware experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney. An experienced attorney will help assert your rights, give you access to resources that can reduce or eliminate your charges, and reach out to your employer and provide information that may allow you to keep your job.

If you are someone you know is facing a criminal OVI or DUI charge, call an experienced, aggressive OVI/DUI defense attorney today to improve the odds of getting the results you desire.



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