CAN YOU BE CONVICTED OF OVI OR DUI IF YOU REFUSE A BREATHALYZER?

When an officer pulls someone over and suspects the driver may be impaired by alcohol, the officer can ask the driver to take a breathalyzer.  Depending on your local court, it may be in your interest to refuse to take the test.

Breath test results can strengthen the state’s case against you, and could potentially lead to more charges being filed. By refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test, the prosecutor does not have chemical evidence that can be used against you.

Though refusing the breathalyzer test is often helpful in the building your defense, refusing doesn’t necessarily mean the prosecutor will drop the OVI charges. The breathalyzer is just one tool an officer uses when determining whether to arrest a driver for OVI / DUI. Officers are also trained to look for certain physical clues of impaired driving, and often lean heavily on those clues if there is not a breathalyzer test result.

OHIO REVISED CODE 4511.19(A)(1)(A);

COLUMBUS MUNICIPAL ORDINANCE 2133.01(A)(1)(A)

Most prosecutors will prosecute DUI / OVI cases without a breathalyzer test result. Without a breathalyzer result, the prosecutor will present the officer’s testimony, observations, report and any video recordings to a jury. They will use the testimony and video as evidence of impaired driving.

In Ohio, you can be charged and convicted of OVI / DUI if you are: “under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them.” ORC 4911.19(A)(1)(a).  There is a separate code section that deals with breath tests over the limit. 

This OVI section of Ohio and Columbus law do not list any prohibited amount of alcohol from a test result. Even without a breath test result, a driver can still be found guilty of OVI or DUI under Ohio Revised Code 4511.19(A)(1)(A) and Columbus Municipal Ordinance 2133.01(A)(1)(A).

FIGHTING A CASE WHERE CLIENT REFUSES A BREATH TEST 

If you have been arrested and charged with OVI or DUI, talk to an attorney. An experienced attorney can explain OVI / DUI defenses where someone refused to take a breathalyzer test.

Some defenses include:

  • Other explanations for the alleged “clues” of impairment
  • Medical conditions the officer mistakes for impairment (i.e. knee or back injury prevented the driver from balancing)
  • The officer incorrectly administering other field sobriety tests

It is important to contact an attorney who is knowledgeable about all possible defenses available to you. If you have questions about your Columbus criminal or OVI and DUI related charges, talk to our defense attorneys at 614-361-2804.

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