Many people who have been charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Ohio have questions about the potential sentences they may face, what certain elements of the charges are, and whether they will have a criminal record, among other questions.


Although searching the internet for answers to your questions is one of the best places to start finding information for the drunk driving charges against you, nothing compares to speaking to an actual OVI defense lawyer.

Attorney Walter Benson, located in Akron, Ohio is an experienced attorney and knowledgeable with Ohio’s traffic and motor vehicle laws and will answer your DUI/ OVI FAQ. Call the Law Office of Walter Benson at (330) 258-1384 for a free consultation today.

Do you have to be driving a vehicle to be convicted of OVI?
A. No. You can be convicted of OVI without actually driving, but having “physical control” of the vehicle, which involves three factors: (1) that you were in the vehicle’s driver’s seat; (2) that you were in possession of the ignition key, and (3) that you were either under the influence of alcohol or have tested over the legal limit.

How is the term “Operation of a Vehicle” defined?
A. “Operation” is defined as sitting in the driver’s seat, in possession of the ignition key, and causing the vehicle to move. Movement of the vehicle is a key element in an OVI conviction.

What is the difference between a conviction for OVI and “Physical Control?"
A. Although OVI and “physical control” convictions are both first-degree misdemeanors, OVI convictions carry mandatory minimum penalties, while “physical control” convictions do not. A prior OVI conviction within the last six years will increase minimum jail time for a present conviction from 3 to 10 days. However, if you are convicted of OVI and have a past “physical control” conviction, the minimum jail time will still be 3 days.

Is it always illegal to drink and drive under Ohio law?
A. No. It is only illegal if you are impaired or the level of alcohol and/or drugs in your system is above the legal limit.

Can you still be convicted of OVI if your BAC is below the legal limit?
A. Yes, depending on your level of impairment.

What should you do if you are arrested after having a few drinks?

  • Keep your hands on the steering wheel;
  • Don’t look for license until it is requested;
  • You may politely request to consult with an attorney before answering questions;
  • Step out of the vehicle, if asked to do so;
  • Remember you have a Constitutional Right not to answer any questions that may incriminate you.

Do you have the right to refuse field sobriety tests?
Yes. The police will ask to check your eyes and ask you to walk a straight line and stand on one foot. These subjective tests are sometimes very unreliable and there is no statutory penalty for refusing to perform them.

Do you have the right to refuse a breath, blood or urine tests?
No, you do not have a right to refuse these tests. If you refuse, your license will be suspended and if you have prior OVI convictions your mandatory minimum sentences can significantly increase. However, refusing both field sobriety tests and breath, blood or urine tests can make it more difficult for the State to convict you of an OVI.

What constitutes a “minimum time sentence?”
The “minimum time” that you potentially may face depends upon your blood alcohol level and your number of prior OVI convictions.

What is the sentence for a first conviction?
If this is only your first OVI conviction within the past six years, the minimum sentence is three days in jail or a seventy-two-hour driver intervention program. However, if your blood alcohol level is .170 or above, you are subject to six days in jail.

What is the sentence for a second conviction?
If this is your second OVI conviction within the past six years, the minimum jail sentence is ten days. However, if you refuse chemical tests, or test above .170 you will face a minimum of 20 days in jail.

What is the sentence for a third conviction?
For a third OVI conviction, the minimum sentence is thirty days in jail. However, if you refuse testing, or test above .170 you will face a sixty-day jail sentence.

Can law enforcement force blood draws without court intervention?
Yes. Under the new law, court intervention is not always required. If you have been convicted of two or more OVI offenses within the past six years or five or more offenses within the past twenty years, or if you have been previously convicted of a felony, law enforcement can use whatever force is necessary to obtain a blood sample without first obtaining your approval.

Law Office of Walter Benson | Akron OVI FAQ Attorney

Contact the Law Office of Walter Benson today for a free consultation about your OVI charges in Akron, Ohio. Walter Benson is an experienced OVI defense attorney and will answer any further you questions you may have that are applicable in your particular case. Call the Law Office of Walter Benson (330) 258-1384 for a consultation about your OVI charges in Summit County and surrounding counties, including Stark County, Portage County, and Medina County.

Contact Me

Walter J. Benson

Akron Criminal Defense Attorney
209 S Main, Suite 401
Akron, OH 44308

Phone (330) 258-1384
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Walter J Benson Attorney At Law Akron Ohio