Can I Refuse a Breath Test After an OVI Arrest?

If you are arrested for an OVI in Ohio, the officers may ask you to take a chemical test (e.g., breath, blood, or urine test) to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) or the amount of drugs in your system. Unfortunately, refusing to take a post-arrest chemical test can result in serious consequences. 

According to Ohio’s “implied consent” law, all drivers within the state automatically agree to submit to chemical testing after being lawfully arrested for drunk driving. Failure to take a breath, blood, or urine test is punishable by a driver’s license suspension by the BMV for one year. 

If you refuse a second time after a prior refusal or OVI conviction within the last ten years, a second refusal carries a two-year license suspension period. If you refuse a third time and you have two prior OVI convictions within ten years, then the suspension will last three years. 

When it comes to chemical testing before a lawful arrest, the implied consent law does not apply. For example, if an officer asks you to take a hand-held breathalyzer test, you may legally refuse without facing penalties. 

The same rules apply to field sobriety tests administered prior to an arrest. However, even if you refuse either a preliminary breath test or a field sobriety test, you may still be arrested if the law enforcement officials already have enough evidence to establish probable cause. 

Even if you take a breath or blood test after being arrested, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you determine if the police properly administered the test, adequately calibrated the testing device, or properly established probable cause. 

If there is evidence that the arresting officer violated your constitutional rights or failed to administer the post-arrest chemical test correctly, your test results will be inadmissible in court. Without key evidence, your case will most likely be dismissed. 

If you or a loved one has been charged with an OVI in Dayton or Springfield, contact Rion, Rion & Rion today at (937) 223-9133 for knowledgeable and personalized legal representation. Serving clients throughout Montgomery, Greene, Warren, Clark, and Miami counties since 1938. 

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