OVI Blood Tests in St. Clairsville
St. Clairsville OVI lawyer Sean Logue explains that if you’re arrested for suspicion of OVI, the arresting officer will likely request a blood test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The officer must remind you that you implied consent to such tests when you signed for your driver’s license. Refusing the blood test can result in charges of refusal to submit to chemical testing, which carry significant criminal and administrative consequences.
Blood Tests Facts
Blood samples collected at the officer’s request are referred to as “legal blood,” while those obtained from hospital records are known as “medical blood.” In many cases, arresting officers try to obtain hospital records to use BAC records as evidence in OVI cases.
Ohio law provides prosecutors and law enforcement three methods to obtain blood test results or records from hospitals: through a search warrant, a law enforcement request, or a hospital records request.
Law Enforcement Request for Blood Test Records
When an officer arrests someone on suspicion of OVI, they request permission for a blood test. After obtaining consent (opting out has unfavorable consequences), the blood is typically drawn at a hospital. Trained professionals such as phlebotomists, chemists, physicians, qualified technicians, or registered nurses usually perform the blood draw, as stipulated in Section 4511.19(D)(1)(b) of the Ohio Revised Code.
Procedures for blood collection are defined in section 3701.53 of the Ohio Administrative Code by the Ohio Department of Health. To ensure admissibility in court, the blood drawing facility must have the necessary permits. An alternative way to establish admissibility is if the prosecutor presents expert testimony.
These details surrounding blood tests and their proper acquisition serve to engage audiences while shedding light on important considerations in OVI cases.
When making a law enforcement records request, a police officer seeks the release of blood test results from a hospital for medical purposes. For instance, if a driver involved in an accident is injured and taken to the hospital where blood is drawn due to the injuries sustained, the police officer can request the hospital to provide the driver’s blood test results if there is suspicion of alcohol involvement. It is important to note that the usability of these results in court is contingent upon the hospital being a specially permitted facility that follows standard protocols or if it is used in conjunction with expert testimony.
In cases where an officer utilizes the search warrant option, a warrant is requested from a judge and subsequently served to the hospital. The warrant obligates the medical facility to release the blood sample directly to law enforcement, who will analyze it elsewhere.
Obtaining requested records can prove challenging for police officers due to HIPAA (American Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) laws. However, there are exceptions to these privacy rules that permit hospitals to disclose information to law enforcement, such as when ordered by a court via a search warrant or another court order, for investigations, inspections, licensure, audits mandated by state, federal, or local law, or when individuals have threatened to commit a crime, are crime victims, or have been involved in a crime.
Refusing or Failing a Blood Test
It is important to remember that you have the right to refuse a blood test after an OVI (Operating a Vehicle under the Influence) arrest, but be aware that there are severe legal and civil consequences associated with this decision. Moreover, if you fail a blood test, it does not mean all hope is lost. Your St. Clairsville criminal lawyer is well-versed in OVI law and defense strategies. Sean Logue, with extensive experience defending hundreds of cases, can guide you on the most effective course of action based on your specific situation. Contact (330) 992-3036 for further assistance.
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