Ohio Drunk Driving Breath Tests
Ohio police frequently administer a breath test to someone whom they have stopped on suspicion of drunk driving.
There are several things to be aware of about these tests in case this ever happens to you, says an attorney.
You Are Not Required to Take a “Portable Breath Test”
There are two types of alcohol breath test machines:
- Evidential Breath Testing Machines: These are machines that are approved by the Ohio Department of Health.
- Portable Breath Test Machines (PBTs): These are portable machines that the officer may have at the side of the road.
You are not required to take a test with a Portable Breath Test machine. This machine is not a recognized breath testing device by the Ohio Department of Health because it is unreliable. Therefore, a result from this machine is not admissible in evidence in a trial.
The officer may encourage you to cooperate and take the test. If you have had nothing to drink and have not yet been arrested then it may help to convince the officer. Otherwise, you should never take this type of test. Do not be afraid that you will offend the officer by refusing to take the test because you question its reliability. You are not required to take a portable breath test and you should decline to do so.
It Is a Crime to Refuse to Take a Chemical Alcohol Test After an Ohio OVI Arrest
Although you are not required to take a test with a Portable Breath Test Machine, Ohio law does require you to take a chemical test (either breath, blood, or urine) if you are validly under arrest for OVI. Furthermore, the choice of whether the test is a breath test, blood test, or urine test is up to the officer.
The penalties for refusing to take a chemical test in this situation are significant, doubling the mandatory penalties for the OVI itself.
On the other hand, there are some potentially serious consequences of taking a chemical alcohol test:
- The test result will provide a measurement of your alcohol level, and this may subject you to an OVI per se charge of driving with an alcohol level above the limit.
- The test result might put you in the higher alcohol level, which would subject you to harsher penalties.
Either way, your driver’s license will be suspended.
Get Help From an Experienced Ohio OVI Lawyer
If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Ohio and failed a breath test, then you may want an experienced OVI lawyer to defend you. The test result does not mean that you are guilty of OVI because there are still significant defenses.
If you are not already represented by an Ohio OVI lawyer, consider asking for our evaluation of your case. Complete the short Case Evaluation Form to the right, or otherwise contact our office at: