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Physical Control

Ohio does not have a safe harbor law allowing drivers to pull over and sleep of their high or buzz if they realize they’re too intoxicated to drive. This means you could be arrested and charged with physical control if you are found intoxicated in your vehicle.

Where you’re located in the vehicle and the proximity of the keys will determine whether or not you will be arrested for the offense. Physical control is not as harsh as an OVI, but the crime should still be taken seriously. Though jail time is rare for physical control, there is still a chance you could spend time behind bars.   

Columbus, OH Physical Control Defense Lawyer

Exercise your right to legal counsel and contact Joslyn Law Firm. We will use our vast experience in OVI defense to your advantage. Call (614) 300 - 3025 to schedule a confidential consultation.

Joslyn Law Firm proudly defends those accused of physical control in areas such as Madison County, Pickaway County, Fairfield County and Licking County.


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What is Physical Control?

Physical control is similar to OVI except it doesn’t involve operating a vehicle. According to the Ohio Revised Code, physical control is defined as being in the driver’s seat of a vehicle while intoxicated and in possession of the vehicle’s keys or other ignition device.

If a police officer cannot prove you actually drove the vehicle while intoxicated, they will likely arrest you for being in physical control. It’s not required the vehicle was ever driven or started to violate the crime.

Physical control is commonly charged when someone is found sleeping off their impairment in a bar parking lot. The car is not required to be running and the keys do not have to be in the ignition. Simply having the keys in your pocket while passed out in the driver’s seat is enough to be arrested for physical control. Even having the keys within reach is enough to satisfy the definition of physical control.


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Penalties for Physical Control Ohio

The laws surrounding physical control were specifically designed not to be as harsh as OVI, even though the crimes are vastly similar. A physical control conviction may not carry the same social stigma as an OVI, but the crime should still be taken seriously.

Physical control is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by the following:

  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • A fine up to $1,000
  • License suspension for up to a year
  • Completion of an alcohol or drug treatment program

The penalties for physical control cannot be enhanced nor will a conviction result in points added to your driving record.


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Limited Driving Privileges

One of the penalties for physical control is a license suspension for up to a year. Your life will not stand still when your driver’s license is suspended. You will still be required to pick your children up from school, attend work and complete everyday tasks. Fortunately, you can ask the court for limited driving privileges.

Limited driving privileges will allow you to drive, but only to certain locations. If the privilege is granted, the court will specify the time, purpose and location of where you can drive. The court will only grant limited driving privileges for specific reasons. Some of these reasons include:

  • Work, medical or educational purposes
  • For court-ordered treatment
  • To take a child to school or daycare
  • To attend court hearings for the offense resulting in the suspension
  • To take a driver’s or commercial driver’s license test
  • Any other reason deemed appropriate by the court

The court may require your car to have restricted plates and an immobilizing or disabling device installed as a condition of the driving privileges. An immobilizing device commonly installed is an ignition interlock device. This device will require you to submit a breath sample for the vehicle to start. The vehicle will not start if your BAC is over a certain limit.


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Additional Resources for Physical Control

Physical Control | Ohio Revised Code – Visit the Ohio Laws and Rules website to read the section of the Revised Code over physical control. You can read the precise definition of the crime, find out when ingesting a controlled substance is legal and gain access to the state’s Administrative Code.

Alcohol and Drug Services – Follow the link provided to view a list of alcohol and drug services offered by the city of Columbus. You can gain access to prevention and treatment programs and services. You can also learn more about drug and alcohol assessments.


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Physical Control Defense Attorney in Columbus, OH

Physical control may not be as serious as an OVI, but it can still result in jail time and a suspended license. To mitigate the chances of this happening to you, contact Joslyn Law Firm. Call (614) 300 - 3025 to schedule a confidential consultation.

Joslyn Law Firm defends those accused of OVI related crimes in counties across central Ohio including Franklin County, Delaware County, Union County and numerous others.


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Joslyn Law Firm