Breath and Blood Testing
When you’re pulled over and an officer suspects you of driving under the influence (DUI), it’s standard practice for the officer or trooper to ask you to submit to one or more OVI (operating a vehicle while intoxicated)/DUI test. The cornerstone of most DUI charges in Ohio are the results of these tests, which are designed to determine whether you were impaired by the use of drugs or alcohol. The types of tests that may be used to determine your impairment include:
- Roadside field sobriety tests (FSTs)
- Breath tests
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
There are ways in which any of these types of DUI tests might produce inaccurate results, and you may be arrested or charged based on a false positive. If you believe you were charged with drunk driving based on an inaccurate test result, an experienced Cincinnati DUI lawyer can help pinpoint the problems with the administration or interpretation of your test, and help you fight your charge.
To schedule a free, initial evaluation of your case with one of our Cincinnati DUI lawyers, during which we will review breath and blood testing in Ohio, contact Luftman, Heck & Associates today at (513) 338-1890. We can also be reached via our online form.
Roadside Field Sobriety Tests
Roadside field sobriety tests are designed to test your coordination, balance, and other physical responses that may indicate that you’re impaired by the use of alcohol or drugs. This set of tests includes:
Walk and Turn Test
This involves walking heel-to-toe in a straight line without stumbling or losing your balance. You also have to count your steps while you walk. If you stop, lose count, use your arms to keep your balance, and/or fail to follow the instructions to the minute detail, the officer may claim that you’re impaired.
One Leg Stand Test
This test involves standing with your feet together, and then raising one leg and balancing on the other while counting out loud for 30 seconds. If you have trouble maintaining your balance, hop, and/or lower your foot, the officer may claim that you’re intoxicated.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test
This test involves asking you to follow an object such as a finger, pen, or flashlight with your eyes so that the officer can look for involuntary movements or jerking that may indicate the use of alcohol or drugs. If your eyes jerk while you follow the object, the jerking is sustained, and/or the jerking starts before your eye has moved 45 degrees while following the object, the officer may claim you’re impaired.
The problem with roadside FSTs is that there are any number of factors that can account for your inability to adequately perform on the tests. Being overweight or simply being a senior citizen can affect your ability to perform the walk-and-turn or one leg stand tests and keep your balance. Medical conditions or taking certain legal prescription medications can produce involuntary eye movements that might make you fail the HGN test, even though you’re not impaired.
Results of roadside FSTs also depend on the training of the officer or trooper administering the test to produce accurate results. If the officer didn’t receive proper training on how to give the tests, then the results may not be a good indicator of your level of impairment.
If you have been charged with an OVI based on your perceived performance on roadside field sobriety tests, our skilled Cincinnati DUI lawyers can help you fight the charge, and may be able to get it dismissed or your penalties reduced. Contact Luftman, Heck & Associates today to learn more about breath and blood testing in the area.
Chemical BAC Testing in Cincinnati
If you have a driver’s license in Ohio, you have already agreed to take one or more tests to determine whether you have any alcohol or drugs in your system while you’re operating a vehicle. As a driver, you are required by law to submit to a chemical test at the request of a law enforcement officer. The police can request that you submit to a bread, blood, or urine test. You may also be asked to undergo more than one test, such as breath and blood testing at a nearby medical facility.
You may be asked to submit to two different breath tests. Police officers can initially use handheld breath test devices that are better suited for roadside tests. The results of this preliminary breath test may lead the officer to arrest you for a DUI/OVI; however, they are not admissible evidence in an Ohio court.
You may be asked to take a second breath test on a pre-approved instrument at the police station. This is known as an evidential breath test because the results can be used as evidence in court. The types of instruments approved for breath tests use infrared technology. Once you blow into the machine, usually as hard and for as long as you can, the infrared wavelengths move through the breath sample. The machine detects unabsorbed infrared energy. Alcohol absorbs the infrared light, so the amount of infrared energy that is not absorbed is measured to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) level. The more infrared light your breath absorbs, the higher your BAC.
If your breath test result shows that you have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher, you can face charges for the offense known as OVI per se for being over the Ohio legal limit, which means that your BAC itself is evidence that you were driving under the influence. If your BAC is .17 percent or higher, you can be charged with a “high test” OVI offense, which has more severe penalties in Ohio.
You may think that if you test over .08 percent, there’s nothing you can do. However, breath tests are often inaccurate. There are specific rules for administration of a breath test. For example, you shouldn’t be given a breath test immediately after you burp or vomit because that can result in the presence of more alcohol in your mouth than is actually present in your blood.
If you’re facing a drunk driving charge based on breath test results, our Cincinnati DUI lawyers may be able to challenge the results based on how the test was administered or interpreted. Call us today to learn more about how we can help.
Blood and Urine Tests
Blood and urine tests are more commonly used when you are suspected of driving under the influence of drugs, but a blood test also may be used in an alcohol-related DUI case if you refused a breath test. If you don’t consent to the test, the officer must get a search warrant to compel you to give a sample.
As with breath tests, there are a number of rules for how blood and urine samples must be collected and processed in order to get accurate readings. Some of those rules include:
- An officer must collect your sample within three hours of your alleged DUI
- An officer must collect your sample in front of a witness
- People who analyze the samples must be properly trained and qualified under Ohio law, and perform the analysis in a way that’s consistent with Ohio regulations
- When a sample yields a positive result, it should be re-tested to confirm the result
When samples are collected too late, or proper procedures aren’t followed, that can affect the accuracy of your results. If you were charged based on blood or urine test results that you think were inaccurate, a Cincinnati DUI lawyer might be able to get the breath and blood testing results excluded from court, therefore giving you a stronger chance to fight the charge.
Required Law Enforcement Advice and Warnings for Chemical Tests
When the police believe you may have had too much to drink or took drugs before driving, they will request that you take a chemical test. At that time, a police officer must advise you of your rights and duties in both a written and oral format. The officer is required to read you Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Form 2255, which states you are under arrest and you must submit to one or more chemical tests within two hours of the alleged violation. If you fail to take the requested tests within the allotted time, this will constitute a refusal to submit under the law, and your driving privileges will be immediately suspended. The form also provides that you have the right to request an independent chemical test at your own expense.
The officer and a witness, usually a second police officer, must certify on the form that the officer read this advice to you. You will then be given the form as evidence that the police followed the law and you were aware of your rights.
Breath and Blood Testing – Can You Refuse a Test?
For the police to have the right to ask you to take a breath, blood, or urine test, they must have a reasonable belief that you are in physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated by drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both. You may believe when you are pulled over for a DUI/OVI that there is no reason for the police to think you are intoxicated. This is not the time to argue or attempt to prove your point. When the police suspect you of a DUI/OVI and have requested that you take a breath or blood test, it is better to submit to an exam than to resist. By refusing to submit to a chemical test, you now face additional consequences for breaking Ohio’s implied consent law, including the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. This penalty is in addition to the criminal punishment you face if you are convicted of a DUI/OVI.
Our Cincinnati DUI Lawyers Can Help with Breath and Blood Testing Results
If you have been pulled over for an OVI, whether it’s your first or subsequent time, you’re likely stressed, angry, and worried about your future. The best thing to do is to call the experienced Cincinnati DUI lawyers with Luftman, Heck & Associates. In Cincinnati, attorney Brad Groene can walk you through your legal options and begin building a defense to reduce the penalties you face following results for breath and blood testing. Get the justice you deserve. Don’t hesitate to contact us today at (513) 338-1890 to schedule a free case consultation.