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DUI Law In Ohio

Adam: My name is Attorney Adam Hunt. I’ve been practicing as an attorney for over two years. Prior to that, I law clerked for about four. I’m admitted into practice in Ohio and federally.

Interviewer: Do you handle primarily criminal defense, or what areas do you work in?

Adam: I mostly do some criminal and then domestic. Those are the two big ones that I see most often, the cases I handle the most. Also, a little bit of civil and personal injury.

Interviewer: When you say domestic, do you mean domestic violence?

Adam: That comes with the criminal, more or less, but I’ll do divorce, custody, other things like that.

Interviewer: I’ve heard it referred to as family law.

Adam: I always call it domestic just because that’s how they distinguish it here.

Interviewer: Today we’ll start with DUI law, which is on the criminal side. When people get arrested for DUI, once they’ve been arrested and charged and released, what are some of the first things they should do to figure out how serious the charges they’re facing are, and do they even need an attorney to help them?

Adam: The first thing is if they’ve had any other priors. The most important thing in Ohio is if they’ve had a prior OVI, which is actually what it’s called in Ohio. If they had a prior DUI, how long ago was it and how high was the blood alcohol test. These are the two big concerns that you have. Even related, if they do have a criminal background it could impact the outcome. The other thing is that it depends on the court and the judge. Some judges are more tolerant or understanding, while other judges like to bring the hammer down.

Interviewer: You said especially if this is not a first time offense, it definitely sounds like you need an attorney. You also said it’s called OVI in Ohio?

Adam: Operating a vehicle while intoxicated. It covers more than just alcohol because technically it can hit you on prescription drugs, even.

Interviewer: It covers illegal drugs, prescription drugs and alcohol. Right?

Adam: Right.

Interviewer: Why would they call it operating versus driving? Why make that difference?

Adam: I think so they can get you if technically you were in the parking lot as opposed to just driving on the road. I think that’s why they make the distinction.

Interviewer: Have you seen cases where people were in their car, maybe there to sleep it off or they were just sitting in the car with the car off, and they still were charged?

Adam: I’ve seen it.

Interviewer: Have you seen cases where people are sleeping it off in the back seat and they were still charged?

Adam: I just know that it has happened in that respect. I haven’t had one personally where somebody was sleeping it off or anything like that, but the fact that they’re still in the vehicle, they still have the ability to take control of it. I think that’s why.

Interviewer: The law says that you could have driven; therefore, they’re still going to charge you?

Adam: Yes.

By Adam Hunt

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