When a police officer pulls someone over and suspects they may be intoxicated, he’ll ask the driver to take a breath, blood, or urine test. He must inform the person what will happen if the he or she refuses in order for a refusal to actually occur. There is a law called the Implied Consent Statute that the officer must follow exactly. This is covered in Ohio’s Revised Code, Section 4511.192(B).
If the driver should refuse to take the chemical test, the officer will fill out paperwork that will tell the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to suspend his driver’s license. This suspension is called an ALS, or administrative license suspension. The amount of time the license will be suspended is laid out in the Revised Code and is based on certain factors. ALS is not only applied in cases of drunken driving. If a driver is found to be driving with more than the legal limit of a controlled substance in his blood, his license can be suspended, as well.
Not Being Able to Take a Chemical Test Does not Equal a Refusal
“Refusal” is defined as purposely not performing a requested action. It involves an intent to not do what was asked. Sometimes, medical and other conditions prevent a driver from blowing enough air into the breath machine for it to take a reading. This does not constitute a refusal.
Other examples of conditions that might prevent the driver from submitting to a chemical test include head trauma, such as a concussion, that causes confusion, epilepsy, or even being deaf or not being a native English speaker.
There have been several cases that have gone through the court system, even to the federal Supreme Court, that have helped define what does and does not constitute a refusal to submit.
If you have been accused of refusing to submit, you need an experienced attorney like Sean Logue to help you. Sean will be able to prove to the court that your condition prevented you from taking the chemical test and that you were willing to do so but couldn’t.
Chemical Test Refusal Penalties in Youngstown
In Ohio, refusing to submit to chemical testing is a first-degree misdemeanor. The following is a list of consequences a driver can expect to face in this situation:
- Having an ignition interlock device installed on his car, at his expense.
- Completing a driver intervention program.
- Serving a minimum of three days and a maximum of six months in jail.
- Paying fines that range from $375 to $1,075.
- Getting his license suspended for six months to three years.
Driver intervention programs must be approved by the court. They are generally held in hotels and last three days, usually on the weekend. Their purpose is to educate drivers about alcohol and drugs, with the goal of preventing future violations of OVI law.
You Need Assistance to Fight a Refusal to Submit
Because of the harsh enhanced penalties that go along with a conviction for refusing to submit to chemical testing, if you have been accused of it, you need help from someone who understands the law, the court processes, and the available defenses. A reputable attorney who has defended hundreds of clients accused of operating a vehicle while intoxicated will know who to contact and how to ask for records that will prove your case. He will know what defenses will work, based on your individual and unique case.
No matter who arrests you or in what county or town, Sean Logue is familiar with the methods of prosecutors and police. He has been thoroughly educated in drunk driving laws and penalties, and keeps his training up to date so he can better serve his clients. Sean will be your voice as you move through the legal process.
Sean Logue is available at any time of the day or night for a free initial consultation. He can be reached by calling (330) 625-9199.