Ohio’s Heightened DUI/OVI Enforcement for Super Bowl LVII

NHTSA-Super-Bowl-200x300There is a lot of Super Bowl planning going on.  Rihanna is planning what songs to sing.  Tom Brady is planning to make an appearance as a broadcaster (and later announce his second un-retirement?).  Party hosts are planning what food to serve.  I am planning to miss our annual party due to Covid (cruel timing).  And Ohio law enforcement agencies are planning to arrest drunk drivers.

Sports Statistics
I have seen statistics on the holidays with the most DUI arrests (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio), but I have never seen data regarding OVI arrests and sporting events.  For holidays, the leaders are Independence Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Thanksgiving Eve.  For sporting events, my experience suggests the runners-up are the NCAA basketball tournament and, in Ohio, OSU football games.  The clear leader, however, has to be the Super Bowl.  That’s why OVI enforcement is heightened this weekend.

Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk
The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) is running a campaign to deter drunk driving on Super Bowl LVII weekend:  Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.  The campaign encourages everyone to have a ‘winning game plan’ in place which includes the following ‘keys to the game’.

  • Know the Rules:  it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher.
  • Play it Safe:  plan for a sober ride.
  • Be a Party MVP:   volunteer to be a designated driver.
  • If You’ve Been Drinking:  You’re Benched
  • Be the Head Coach When Hosting:  take care of designated drivers.

If Fans Drive Drunk, Law Enforcement is Waiting
When the Cincinnati Bengals made it to the big game last year, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said it was aware there would be more celebrations going on around the state.  Although the Bengals didn’t make it this year, there will be plenty of Super Bowl ‘celebrating’ in Ohio.

For those ‘celebrating’ fans who drive, the Ohio State Highway Patrol will have super OVI enforcement.  According to this report, the patrol is stepping-up OVI enforcement across the state.  As Patrol Superintendent Col. Charles A. Jones said, “Troopers will be working to remove impaired drivers from our roadways.”

The stepped-up enforcement typically includes a higher-than-usual number of troopers and may include saturation patrols and OVI checkpoints.  The elevated efforts are not limited to the State Patrol.  Local law enforcement agencies and multi-agency programs like the Franklin County DUI Task Force will also increase patrols this weekend.

If Fans are Arrested, the Dominy Law Firm Can Help
We don’t condone driving under the influence.  However, we have found that times of heightened enforcement can lead to overreaching.  The eye sees what the mind expects.  If an officer is working overtime for the purpose of arresting drunk drivers on Super Bowl weekend, the officer’s mind expects to see drunk driving, and the officer’s eyes will see it.

An innocuous ‘California stop’ at a stop sign or a momentary crossing of a lane line will be presumed to be evidence of drunk driving.  Too many mistakes on roadside sobriety tests, with undisclosed grading and no opportunity to practice, may confirm the officer’s presumption.  And just like that, the driver is arrested, and the party is over.  In those situations, a driver needs a great OVI defense lawyer like an NFL team needs a great quarterback.

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