What Is Physical Control of A Vehicle?
Under Ohio Law, physical control is defined as: “… being in the driver's position of the front seat of a vehicle or in the driver's position of a streetcar or trackless trolley and having possession of the vehicle's, streetcar's, or trackless trolley's ignition key or other ignition device.”
So, if you are passed out behind the steering wheel in the driver’s seat with the keys nearby, you are risking being arrested for physical control. If you’re going to sleep it off, it is best to do so in the back seat. A classic example is someone who knows they’re impaired and is not going to drive drunk gets in their car by the bar, and turns on the heater or air conditioner to be comfortable. Then, when all comfy, they fall asleep, or pass out, often with the vehicle still running. The running vehicle then draws the attention of law enforcement. That being said, it is still much better to suffer a physical control charge versus an actual operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) charge.