All states try to curb drunk driving by enacting stiff penalties, regardless of what they call it. Ohio refers to it as OVI, or operating a vehicle under the influence. When an officer pulls a vehicle over, they commonly conduct tests to check for impairment. Some drivers may wonder if they can refuse the tests.
Implied consent laws
Any driver operating a motor vehicle in Ohio gives consent to chemical tests, which include breath, blood, and urine. The chemical tests measure the blood alcohol content, or how much alcohol or substance a driver has in their system. A driver who measures over .08, the legal limit in most states, may get arrested for OVI.
The officer decides what test to administer, and they must inform drivers they have a right to refuse and the consequences of refusing. However, the officer must have probable cause to make an arrest, so they may conduct preliminary testing with a Breathalyzer.
Penalties for refusal
After an arrest has been made, the driver can’t refuse tests without a penalty. Even if the driver refuses testing, the officer may get a court order from a judge. If the officer can’t get a court order, the officer can legally use reasonable force and withdraw blood from unconscious drivers in rare cases.
Drivers who refuse blood tests before an arrest commonly get a license suspension until they appear in court. Drivers who refuse blood test after an arrest can get six months to one-year license suspension for the first offense.
Other penalties for a first offense include three days to six months in jail, a three-day Driver’s Intervention Program, fines between $375 to $1075, and an ignition interlock device. An OVI commonly gets charged as a misdemeanor the first time, and more than three OVIs in six years usually gets charged as a fourth-degree felony.
DUI/OVI penalties increase for reach offense and vary based on circumstance. Drivers have thirty days to file an appeal, and they may apply for a hardship license with the help of an attorney.