Many Ohioans have the mistaken belief that in order to be arrested for an OVI, you have to be on a public roadway. Because of this fact, it is not unusual for people who find themselves about to be pulled over to pull into their driveway or a parking lot to try and avoid the charge. The reality, however, is that you can get an OVI anywhere “within the state” if you are operating a vehicle and you blow at .08 or above.
The Ohio statute that controls OVI offenses is Revised Code §4511.19. Section (A)(1) provides the relevant language as to where an OVI can occur. It states: “No person shall operate any vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley within this state. . .” As is obvious, a parking lot or driveway is just as much in Ohio as a street or highway. The statute makes no distinction between public and private property for purposes of OVI.
However, certain elements of an arrest for OVI on private property are easier to attack then if it occurs on a public roadway. For instance, when the arrest occurs in a parking lot sometimes it is easier for the Ohio DUI attorney to attack the officer on whether he or she had reasonable suspicion for the stop and probable cause for the arrest.
Don’t be fooled – if you are operating a vehicle under the influence, you can be arrested and charged with DUI/OVI in Ohio, no matter where you are.