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 officer. The police can request that you submit to a breath test, commonly known as a breathalyzer, or a blood or urine test. You may also be asked to undergo more than one test, such as a breath test during the initial stop and a blood test at the police station or a medical facility.
If you were asked to submit to breath and blood testing by a police officer and now you face charges for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (DUI/OVI), you should contact Cincinnati DUI lawyer Brad Groene at right away.
Required Law Enforcement Advice and Warnings
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 2 hours of the alleged violation. If you fail to take the requested tests within 2 hours, this will constitute a refusal to submit under the law and your driving privileges will be immediately suspended. For 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.
Refusing a Breath and Blood Testing
In order 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 these. 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.
Ohio Breath Tests
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 unabsorbed infrared energy is detected by the machine. Alcohol absorbs the infrared light, so the amount of infrared energy that is not absorbed is measured to determine your blood alcohol content level. The more infrared light your breath absorbs, the higher your BAC.
In order for your breath test to be valid and the results admissible in court, the police must:
- Use an approved breath test machine
- Maintain and calibrate the breath test equipment properly
- Conduct a proper instrument check, in accordance with Ohio law, every 7 days
- Analyze the sample in accordance with the equipment’s operational checklist
- Have a senior operator or an operator approved under Ohio law conduct the test
- Observe you for 20 minutes prior to the breath test
- Administer the breath test to you within 3 hours of the alleged DUI/OVI
Ohio Blood Tests
The police often request a blood test if they believe you are impaired due to drugs or to obtain an accurate measure of your BAC at the time of the arrest. There are two types of blood tests the police can lawfully use to determine your BAC: Gas chromatography and enzyme assays. There are six approved methods the police can use to determine if there was a controlled substance in your system at the time of the alleged violation, and if so, how much.
In order for your blood test results to be valid and admissible in court, the police must:
- Use an approved blood testing method
- Have a qualified individual conduct the test, such as a doctor, nurse, emergency medical technician, chemist or phlebotomist
- Collect your blood sample within 3 hours of the alleged violation
- Collect your blood sample with an additional witness present
- Re-test the sample, if there is a positive result
A Cincinnati DUI Lawyer from LHA can Help
When you were pulled over and a police officer asked you to take a breath or blood test, you were probably scared and unsure of what to do. This may have caused you to refuse to take the test. You probably thought that by refusing, you gave the police less evidence against you. Unfortunately, refusing a chemical test in Ohio does not help you avoid criminal charges, it simply means you need an attorney who can fight both your criminal charges and your civil license suspension. The best thing to do in this situation is to contact Brad Groene of Luftman, Heck & Associates. As a Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer, attorney Brad Groene has years of experience helping his clients receive the best possible outcomes in their cases.