Motorists in Ohio understand that it is illegal to drive after drinking. Anybody pulled over because of impaired performance at the wheel could end up charged with an operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) offense. A conviction for an OVI could lead to jail time and large fines, as well as the suspension of someone’s driver’s license.
Most adults will do their best to avoid situations where they would get behind the wheel after having too much to drink. However, even those who know their own limits and generally follow certain safety rules could end up accused of an OVI if they make one of the two common mistakes below.
Drinking on an empty stomach
Stopping off for happy hour might be something a professional does several days a week on their way home from work. Typically, having one drink or possibly even two won’t leave someone unable to drive home when the specials end for the day. However, sometimes people are not in a good position to safely consume alcohol. A particularly stressful day at work that led to someone skipping lunch is a perfect example. Although someone may feel like they need a drink more than usual, their body may not handle the alcohol the way it typically does. They may become more impaired and have a higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) than they would after enjoying the same drink when there was food in their digestive system.
Leaving too soon after drinking
Regardless of the other contents of someone’s stomach, it does take a while for the body to fully absorb the alcohol from a beverage. Therefore, someone’s degree of impairment will continue to rise for a small amount of time after they finish consuming alcoholic beverages. It is generally advisable for people to wait at least a quarter of an hour after they stop drinking before gauging themselves for impairment and deciding whether they should drive home or not. Even a breath test performed before leaving a party or bar could return inaccurate results if someone tests and leaves too soon after finishing a drink.
Understanding simple mistakes that can increase someone’s impairment and risk of an OVI charge could help them reach their destination safely and without a run-in with the law.