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Can drivers refuse blood tests following an OVI?

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.