What Happens if You Refuse a Breathalyzer in Cincinnati, Ohio?

Posted On: July 31st, 2022 by Bradley J. Groene
craft beer dui

When you are pulled over for a suspected DUI/OVI incident in Ohio, a police officer may ask you to take a breath, blood, or urine test. At that moment, your mind is probably racing with questions.

You may be afraid of potential consequences even if you are not intoxicated. Are you even required to take a DUI test? What happens if you refuse? Can you be arrested? Find out here.

When Can Officers Request a Breath Test in Ohio?

Typically, a law enforcement officer will need to have probable cause that you were driving under the influence to issue an arrest. Examples of probable cause may include signs of impairment such as:

  • Reckless driving
  • Slurred speech
  • Glassy eyes
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Failure to pass a roadside field sobriety test
  • Failure to pass a preliminary breath test

Ohio Implied Consent Laws

Under Ohio’s implied consent law, once arrested, you must submit to a DUI test within two hours of being pulled over for operating a vehicle impaired.

A chemical test will be administered to determine your body’s level of alcohol or controlled substances. If arrested for a DUI/OVI charge, you could take the following types of DUI tests:

  • Evidential breath test: Unlike handheld breathalyzers, evidential testing is performed through an actual machine. You can be convicted of a DUI if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level exceeds the 0.08 percent limit.
  • Blood test: If you refuse a breath test, the arresting officer can potentially retain a search warrant to compel a blood sample. A blood sample must be retrieved within three hours of the alleged incident.
  • Urine test: Urine tests are commonly used to assess a drugged driving situation. Samples must be collected in a witness’ presence and analyzed by trained professionals.

Penalties for Refusing a Breath Test in Ohio

You might be surprised to learn that refusing a breathalyzer can bring harsher penalties than a DUI conviction on its own. Some drivers will naturally feel hesitant to take any type of assessment.

However, under Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.192, you can face multiple criminal penalties if you refuse to undergo mandatory testing, such as:

  • Spending as much as six months in jail, but a minimum of at least three consecutive days in jail
  • Fines as high as $1,075
  • Having your license suspended or revoked for a maximum of three years, or a maximum of six years if you have multiple offenses on your record
  • Installing an ignition interlock device (IID) at your own expense
  • Being required to participate in a three-day long driver intervention program

You should also be prepared to pay license reinstatement fees if you hope to reinstate your license once your suspension period has ended.

Appealing a License Suspension & License Reinstatement in Hamilton County

If you face a license suspension for refusing to submit to a breathalyzer or other chemical blood alcohol test in Cincinnati, you can appeal the license suspension. To do so, you must file your appeal within 30 days of your arrest. Your suspension will be upheld if you fail to petition the court before this time passes.

Additionally, if you hope to obtain limited driving privileges under Ohio Revised Code 4511.197, you must also file your request within 30 days of your arrest or arraignment or risk having your application denied.

According to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, you must wait out the suspension period before you can get your license reinstated. You also must complete any necessary driver retraining programs and pay any court fees and reinstatement fees before you get your license back.

Your Lawyer Can Help Fight a DUI Charge

Once you retain a DUI lawyer to challenge the allegations against you, we will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your case. In many instances, police may not have a reason to stop you in the first place.

If you were the victim of an unlawful OVI stop, any evidence that may have been obtained against you, including your refusal to submit to a breathalyzer, could be considered inadmissible. This could result in the dismissal of the OVI charges you face.

In other instances, your attorney may argue that the police did not use proper equipment or machinery to obtain your chemical blood alcohol test results.

If these test results are invalid, they could dismantle the prosecution’s case against you. Your lawyer must conduct an in-depth evaluation of your case to determine how to best approach your defense and protect your rights.

Getting Help from Cincinnati DUI Lawyers

Generally, it is not advisable to decline a DUI test because you can still be compelled to provide other evidentiary samples. However, test results are not always 100 percent accurate. Your case can be compromised when samples become tainted or specific procedures are overlooked.

An experienced Ohio DUI defense lawyer may get inconclusive test results thrown out in court and help to reduce or dismiss your charges. Contact Brad Groene, a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney from Luftman, Heck & Associates, to determine the next logical step. Call (513) 338-1890 today.