According to Ohio Law, physical control is: “… 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.”
If you have had too much to drink and know you shouldn’t drive, there is a wealth of choices at this point to avoid a physical control charge.
First, ask a sober friend to drive you home. If you don’t have any sober friends, call a taxi or use UBER. If you can’t afford a taxi or UBER, is the bus still running? Is there any chance the bartender will drop you off at home? The least preferable option, providing it is neither too hot nor too cold, is to sleep it off in your vehicle. In order to avoid a physical control charge you might do something such as place the keys under the mat in the front of the car, and place yourself in the back seat. For safety’s sake, lock your doors. If you are passed out behind the steering wheel in the driver’s seat, with the keys in the ignition or anywhere near you and are spotted by the police, you’re in trouble.
An example of how a physical control charge can occur is someone who knows they’re impaired gets in their car and turns on the heater or air conditioner to be comfortable. Once that person is comfortable, he or she then falls asleep, or passes out, with the vehicle still running. The idling vehicle draws the attention of law enforcement and an unpleasant wake-up call ensues. Nevertheless, it is still much better to have a physical control charge versus an actual operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) charge.
One thing to note is that prior physical control convictions do not trigger enhanced OVI penalties. There are also no driver’s license point penalties nor mandatory jail terms for physical control convictions. Alternatively, prior OVI convictions become additive and that means that for each OVI you’re convicted of, the penalties become more and more serious and costly.
If you’ve been charged with an alcohol-related offense, you could be facing serious, potentially life-altering charges. You need the representation of a skilled attorney who can help you navigate the treacherous legal landscape. The Maher Law Firm can help make sure that your rights are protected. Founding attorney, Colin Maher is a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) certified practitioner for field sobriety testing, which is the same training police officers take. This training helps him evaluate and challenge the evidence collection involved in the field sobriety test process. Call The Maher Law Firm today for a free consultation at 614-205-2208 or contact us online.