Should I Refuse A Breathalyzer? Here's What You Should Know

Knowing your rights during a DUI stop is important. Learn whether you should agree to submit to a breathalyzer test. We can help with your DUI in Lima, Ohio!

12/21/20220 min read

Most people don't know their rights when it comes to being questioned by police involving possible DUI. Under Ohio law, citizens have the right to refuse blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests; however, knowing the potential implications of refusal of a breathalyzer test is essential. If you refuse to take a breath, blood, or urine test, you could face stiff penalties, including suspension of your driver's license.

What To Expect When You Are Accused Of DUI OR OVI

When Ohio police pull you over for the suspicion you are driving or operating the vehicle (OVI) under the influence of drugs or alcohol; they will assess the situation. This assessment may include asking you legal questions, including if you have been drinking or using drugs. The police may ask you to participate in field sobriety tests that involve performing specific actions like standing on one leg or walking straight. If you refuse to participate in these field sobriety tests, there is no penalty.

However, if the police believe you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will inform you that you are under arrest for OVI. At this point, the OVI is considered to be circumstantial since no concrete evidence that you are over the legal limit exists. Generally, it is easier to beat circumstantial evidence than direct evidence in a court of law.

Consequences Of Refusing Or Failing Field Sobriety Tests

To produce direct evidence of your OVI or DUI and collect any evidence, the police will ask to conduct tests that measure your BAC. If you fail the BAC or refuse this test, they will immediately take your driver's license under Ohio's Administrative License Suspension (ALS) rules. There is a short window of opportunity for you to appeal this administrative suspension before it goes into effect for an entire year.

This year's suspension is significantly longer than if you face an OVI conviction after failing a breathalyzer test. For the first offense, a license is suspended for 90 days; for a second conviction, it is suspended for at least six months.

Should You Refuse To Take A Breathalyzer Test?

You can still face OVI and DUI charges if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test; however, it is more difficult for the prosecution to prove its case. If you are a repeat OVI offender within the past 20 years and refuse to take a breath test, penalties could include up to six days in the county jail. Or, the judge could sentence you to three days in jail and mandatory participation in a Driver Intervention Program.

How To Fight OVI And DUI Charges

You can face other penalties if the court finds you guilty of an OVI or DUI charge. It is possible to defend yourself against these charges when you hire an OVI and DUI Criminal Defense Attorney. Your attorney can investigate the circumstances of your case, uncover any procedural evidence that may make your arrest invalid, and help you reduce penalties if you are found guilty of OVI or DUI.

Attorneys understand OHIO state requirements regarding the calibration of breathalyzer machines and the certifications of officers who administer the tests. Your attorney can advise you on the best way to proceed with your OVI or DUI charge to lessen any negative impacts it may have on your life.