You probably already realize that getting behind the wheel when you are too drunk to drive safely is against the law. Every driver education course includes information about alcohol safety, and there are constant public awareness campaigns about the risk of drunk driving run by both non-profit organizations and even law enforcement agencies.
What you may not realize is that Ohio police officers could potentially arrest you for an operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) offense even if your driving seems totally normal. There are OVI arrests that occur because someone causes a crash or drives in an erratic and unsafe manner. There are also many people who face prosecution simply because they failed a chemical breath test.
There are three per se blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits that apply in three different situations in Ohio. Anyone with a BAC over the applicable limits for their age or license type will have technically violated the law.
Those who are old enough to legally be on the road but not old enough to legally consume alcohol are subject to the most strict possible BAC limitations. Underage drivers who perform a breath test and return a result of 0.02% could face arrest and criminal charges. Instead of a standard OVI offense, the state will charge them with an operating a vehicle after underage alcohol consumption (OVUAC) offense.
Those in control of large commercial vehicles can cause some of the worst possible crashes, so they are subject to relatively strict BAC limits. Someone at the wheel of a big rig or a city bus could get arrested for an OVI offense when their BAC is just 0.04%. The driver may not know any signs of impairment but could lose their commercial license despite feeling safe to drive.
The average individual in a personal vehicle will be subject to a BAC limit of 0.08%. It takes multiple drinks to reach that BAC level, and most people will show some signs of alcohol impairment when their BAC is at or over the typical adult limit.
Knowing what laws apply when you are on the road in Ohio could help you avoid an OVI arrest or plan a better defense to your pending OVI charges.