Many people use the terms DWI and DUI interchangeably. However, these terms often have different meanings, depending on the state. For example, perhaps you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Cincinnati, Ohio. You may have questions about whether this is different from being arrested for a DWI.

A qualified DUI attorney can help you avoid the harshest punishments for a DUI conviction. This guide will cover what you need to know. 

DUIs vs. DWIs in Cincinnati, OH

In some parts of the country, a DUI and a DWI are separate crimes. In some states, your blood alcohol content (BAC) will determine whether you are arrested for a DWI or a DUI.

That’s not the case in Ohio. In fact, Ohio law technically doesn’t even use the terms DUI and DWI. Many people will still use these terms informally, but Ohio statutes have eliminated them from the law.

Ohio now uses the term OVI, short for “Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.” 

Ohio’s OVI statute prohibits operating a vehicle when:

  • Under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both
  • Your BAC exceeds certain limits
  • Your urine indicates a concentration of various illegal or intoxicating drugs (such as heroin, cocaine, etc.) that exceeds certain limits

The OVI law in Ohio is complex. It places specific limits on the levels of various substances you must have in your system to be arrested for and convicted of an OVI. The limits also vary from one substance to another and from one method of testing to another.

Because of these complexities, law enforcement officers sometimes make mistakes. It’s possible to be arrested for an OVI when you are not in fact guilty of operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

OMVI vs OVI in Ohio

An OVI in Ohio used to be called an OMVI, or Operating a Motor Vehicle Impaired. You may have noticed that the “motor vehicle” specification has since been removed.

It is now against the law to operate most types of vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This includes vehicles without motors, such as bicycles.

Possible Defenses After an OVI Arrest in Ohio

No attorney can guarantee a certain outcome when handling your Cincinnati OVI case. However, there are various defenses they may employ to secure an ideal outcome for you. 

Common options include the following:

Challenging Test Results

Breath testing equipment is inaccurate far more often than most realize. An attorney may be able to demonstrate that the results of your breath test were erroneous.

Challenging the Reason for a Stop

Police officers can establish checkpoints in Ohio to check the BAC of all drivers passing through the stop. However, they must operate the checkpoint lawfully. 

Outside of a checkpoint, a police officer must have a valid reason to pull you over before your stop. For example, they may have seen you drifting out of your lane. Officers sometimes pull drivers over without reason. 

If an officer had no reason to stop you, it may be possible to fight your OVI charge on these grounds.

Failure to Comply With Guidelines

An officer may determine a driver is intoxicated because they administered a field sobriety test incorrectly or performed a BAC test incorrectly. This is another potential defense.

Your chances of avoiding major penalties after a Cincinnati OVI arrest will be much greater if you secure representation from a skilled DUI defense lawyer.

To learn more, call our Cincinnati criminal defense law firm at (513) 333-0014 or visit our contact us page to send us an email.