Jury Instructions

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Ohio’s Standard Jury Instructions in an OVI Refusal Case

One of the best ways for a layperson to understand a criminal offense such as OVI is to read the standard jury instructions for that charge. If you were charged with OVI in Cincinnati or the surrounding areas of Hamilton County, Ohio, then contact an experienced Cincinnati DUI defense attorney at Joslyn Law Firm.

Whether your case involves a breath test, blood test, or urine test, or a refusal to take such a test, we can help. Call to discuss your case today.

OVI Jury Instruction in Ohio

The standard jury instruction given in OVI cases read as follows:


“Under the influence means that the defendant consumed some (alcohol)(drug of abuse)(alcohol and a drug of abuse), whether mild or potent, in such a quantity, whether small or great, that it adversely affected and appreciably impaired the defendant’s actions, reactions, or mental processes under the circumstances then existing and deprived him of that clearness of intellect and control of himself which he would otherwise have possessed.

The question is not how much (alcohol)(drug of abuse)(alcohol and a drug of abuse) would affect an ordinary person. The question is what effect did any (alcohol)(drug of abuse)(alcohol and a drug of abuse), consumed by the defendant, have on him at the time and place involved.

If the consumption of (alcohol)(drug of abuse)(alcohol and a drug of abuse) so affected the nervous system, brain, or muscles of the defendant so as to impair, to an appreciable degree, his ability to operate the vehicle, then the defendant was under the influence.

The standard jury instruction in OVI (formerly “DUI”) is derived from State v. Hardy, 28 Ohio St.2d 89, 276 N.E.2d 247 (1971),.

Jury Instructions in an OVI Refusal Case

The use of a defendant’s refusal to submit to a chemical test as evidence of being under the influence is controlled by an Ohio Supreme Court-sanctioned jury instruction, which states:

Evidence has been introduced indicating the defendant was asked but refused to submit to a chemical test of his breath to determine the amount of alcohol in his system, for the purpose of suggesting that the defendant believed he was under the influence of alcohol. If you find the defendant refused to submit to said test, you may, but are not required to, consider this evidence along with all the other facts and circumstances in evidence in deciding whether the defendant was under the influence of alcohol.

See Maumee v. Anistika, 69 Ohio St.3d 339 at 344, 632 N.E.2d 497.

The above-quoted jury instruction for OVI cases was described by the Ohio Supreme Court as providing juries with the proper degree of neutrality. Id. Furthermore, the instruction allows juries to consider the totality of the circumstances involving a defendant’s choice to decline testing. Id.

Nevertheless, the Ohio Supreme Court has also acknowledged that it was “permissible for a trial judge to instruct a jury that the defendant’s refusal to submit to a chemical test is evidence of his or her intoxication at the time of taking the test.” Id.

This article was last updated on Tuesday, November 17, 2015.

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