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What counts as probable cause in OVI cases?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2024 | Drunk Driving

Sadly, there are thousands of fatal road traffic collisions in Ohio every year. Approximately half of these fatal accidents stem from intoxication. Thus, tackling impaired drivers in Ohio is a top priority for law enforcement. The police have numerous powers at their disposal to investigate driving offenses.

Operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) is a charge that carries severe penalties. To be arrested on OVI charges, the police need probable cause. What does probable cause mean?

When can you be pulled over?

To be pulled over, officers only need to have a reasonable suspicion that you may be impaired. Driving behaviors such as speeding, swerving or driving without headlights can all amount to reasonable suspicion. They present law enforcement with a legitimate reason to pull you over. These factors alone, however, are not enough to arrest you on OVI charges.

A higher standard of evidence

To be arrested on OVI charges, police officers need to possess probable cause. This means that they must have more than a suspicion, they need hard evidence. An example of probable cause would be a person slurring their words when asked a question or smelling strongly of alcohol. Usually, the police rely on breathalyzer tests to provide them with probable cause to carry out an arrest.

The outcome of your OVI case will heavily depend upon the strength of the evidence against you. If you can show that the traffic stop was unlawful or that you were arrested without probable cause, you could beat the charges. Seeking as much legal information as possible will increase the chances of success in your case.   

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