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No, A Physical Control Does Not Count As A “Prior Offense”

Dayton DUI Attorney Charles Rowland > DUI Law  > No, A Physical Control Does Not Count As A “Prior Offense”

No, A Physical Control Does Not Count As A “Prior Offense”

We get this Physical Control Question Quite a Bit!

Answer: No! Physical Control does not count as a prior offense.

What Is Physical Control?


Watch our video explanation about what the physical control option is and what it means for your case. 


physical controlPhysical Control (Under the Influence) [ORC 4511.194]  is a 1st degree misdemeanor traffic offense.  Because it is considered a non-moving offense, it carries zero (0) BMV points. It is defined as being in the driver’s position of the front seat of a vehicle and having possession of the vehicle’s ignition key while under the influence alcohol or drugs, but not actually operating the vehicle.  The elements of the offense? You are drunk and in control of a car.  An example would be someone who leaves a party and decides to “sleep it off” in their car rather than actually driving anywhere. So, the offense is associated with the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs.

Penalties for Physical Control

There is no mandatory suspension associated with a Physical Control conviction. However, should the court decide to suspend your license as the result of a Physical Control conviction, the reinstatement fee is the same as that of an OVI suspension: $475.00.

As pointed out above, a physical control conviction (R.C. 4511.194) does not count as a “prior offense” for purposes of enhancing a subsequent OVI (drunk driving) charge.  This principle is spelled out in case law and in statute.  R.C. 4511.181 sets forth the offenses that count as prior convictions.  It does not list a violation of  R.C. 4511.194 as a predicate offense.  It does not matter if the prior conviction  was charged under R.C. 4511.194 or as a violation of a municipal ordinance. In addition, this is set forth at R.C. 4511.182(A) and in State v. Schultz, 2008-Ohio-4325 (Ohio Ct. App. 8th Dist. Cuyahoga County 2008).

Thus, if you have questions about Ohio OVI laws, please give us a call. I can be reached at (937) 318-1384 or on my after-hours DUI hotline at (937) 776-2671. Also, if you have questions about why, in some circumstances, the P.C. charge is advantageous… I am here. In addition, I can discuss with you which “reduction” charge is in your long term interest. “All I do is DUI defense.”

Charles Rowland


Charles M. Rowland II has been representing the accused drunk driver for over 20 years. Contact him at (937) 318-1384 if you find yourself facing a DUI (now called OVI) charge.

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