The acronym DUI is short for “driving under the influence,” which means that someone is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An OVI, or “operating a vehicle impaired” charge, means essentially the same thing to the point where they are often used interchangeably. OVI is the commonly used term in Ohio.
According to one recent study, about 15,035 motorists across the state were arrested for impaired driving in 2022 alone. While this does represent about a 20% decrease from the year prior, it’s still a distressing situation and should be treated as such.
In an effort to do precisely that, checkpoints are often set up across the state, particularly on weekends and holidays when people are more likely to drive while intoxicated. Two such checkpoints took place recently in Franklin and Wood counties in August 2023. The results are fascinating and are absolutely worth a closer look.
DUIs, OVIs and More: What You Need to Know
In late August, approximately 1,072 vehicles passed through a checkpoint in Wood County, Ohio. During that time, just two people were arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. During the same period, 994 vehicles went through a checkpoint in Franklin County. Here, just one person was arrested for the same crime.
Again, it’s important to note that while these numbers are certainly an improvement over recent years, they still highlight a situation that most people would agree needs to be addressed in the future.
Interestingly, there are many people out there who question the legality of checkpoints like these in the first place. The argument is that under the Constitution, people are naturally protected against illegal searches and seizures by law enforcement. By virtue of the fact that a law enforcement officer is stopping a car at all, essentially for “no reason” other than the existence of the checkpoint, it would therefore make the checkpoint itself illegal.
However, the Supreme Court has previously ruled that the police do not need any type of “reasonable suspicion” to stop someone at a checkpoint specifically when trying to prevent DUI and OVI situations. This is why you tend to see checkpoints crop up all across the country at certain times when, historically, the number of intoxicated or impaired drivers on the road has been particularly high. Super Bowl Sunday is historically one of these “high profile” events, for example. So while you can get cleared of OVI charges in Ohio, arguing the legality of a checkpoint isn’t how you do it.
Potter Law: Your Criminal Defense Attorney Bowling Green Partner
At Potter Law, we believe it doesn’t matter what type of legal situation you find yourself in – you have rights that deserve to be protected. That’s why, in addition to acting as a criminal lawyer Findlay, we also offer drug defense, domestic violence defense, probate services, general litigation, and more to those in the surrounding areas. We have what it takes to fight for your rights and won’t rest until we help you achieve the best possible outcome in a legal setting.
If you or someone you know is in need of a DUI attorney Bowling Green provider and isn’t sure where to begin, or if you’d just like to speak to an Ohio criminal defense attorney about your own situation in more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Potter Law today.