What is a "Physical Control" charge?

   What does “Physical Control” mean?  Ohio’s Physical Control Statute, O.R.C. 4511.194, became effective on 1/1/05.  Physical Control is similar to an Ohio OVI/Ohio DUI charge in that it deals with being in a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs of abuse with one exception, Physical Control does not require that the vehicle have ever been driven or even started.

 

   The best example of a Physical Control violation is the person who staggers out of the tavern and decides to “sleep it off” in their vehicle.  Often times what happens is the person starts the car, either to run the air conditioner or the heater, so the vehicle is actually running, then goes to sleep.  However, one need not have the car running or even have the keys in the ignition in order to be in violation of O.R.C. 4511.194 – Physical Control.  Under the statute, having the keys within reach will satisfy the definition of having “physical control.”   The physical control statute was essentially designed to “reward” or rather, not punish as severely, the person who drinks too much (or uses drugs of abuse) and then gets into their car, but decides not to actually drive.  

   For a list of the attorneys in your area that can help you defend a physical control charge, check out the Attorney Directory at www.OVILAW.com.

 

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