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Understanding Blood Test Outcomes in Ohio Drunk Driving Cases

When you’re detained for driving under the influence (DUI), often referred to as an OVI, and a breath test is involved, you’ll likely encounter the process of blood sample collection. These samples, typically requested by a law enforcement official, are known as “legal blood”. Opting not to undergo a requested blood test after being informed about Ohio’s implied consent warning could result in accusations of refusing chemical testing. This has implications for both your administrative and criminal proceedings.

Additionally, officers may seek your medical records to confirm your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as determined by hospital staff, often called “medical blood”.

In Ohio, there are three main routes for prosecutors or officers to access hospital blood test data or records—through a direct law enforcement request, a hospital record demand, or a search warrant execution.

If you find yourself arrested for an OVI involving a blood test in Youngstown, Ohio, reaching out to an adept Youngstown OVI lawyer at Youngstown Criminal Law Group is essential. Our practice provides representation for clients in a variety of driving-related offenses throughout Mahoning County, OH. We offer free consultations to discuss the particularities of your case.

Post-DUI Arrest and Law Enforcement’s Blood Test Requests

Following an arrest on suspicion of OVI, an officer may request that the individual undergo a blood test, in line with Ohio’s implied consent regulation. Another path is direct consent from the person in question. The withdrawal of blood must be executed by a qualified individual such as a Physician, Registered Nurse, Technician, Chemist, or Phlebotomist, as stipulated by R.C.§4511.19(D)(1)(b).

Blood withdrawals must also conform to the procedures set by the Department of Health per O.A.C. §3701.53 et seq. To ensure admissibility in court, the blood must have been drawn at a Department of Health-permitted location or else confirmed through expert testimony.

Likewise, for records requested by the hospital, under R.C. §2317.02(2)(a), officers may seek access to medical blood test records, which are considered admissible when standards and protocols of the Department of Health are observed or, again, via expert testimony.

An alternative method for obtaining such records is through utilizing a search warrant. In Ohio, enforcing a search warrant upon a healthcare provider can allow officers to examine the actual blood sample by Health Director-approved methods.

Impact of HIPAA on Law Enforcement’s Record Requests

HIPAA, or the American Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, can affect efforts by Ohio law enforcement officers to acquire hospital records. It is commonplace for healthcare providers to deny releasing blood test results, citing HIPAA violations.

However, Ohio law does specify certain situations where exceptions to HIPAA norms are applicable:

  • In compliance with legal requirements at State, Federal, or Local levels for actions such as inquiries, assessments, inspections, and licensing under R.C. §2317.02;
  • For law enforcement uses, such as instances where one is a crime victim, associated with criminal activity, or has threatened criminal conduct; or
  • Upon the issuance of a court order, like in cases where a search warrant has been procured.

Seeking an Expert OVI Defense Lawyer for Blood Test Cases

Facing an OVI charge in Ohio, particularly those involving blood tests for alcohol content determination necessitates consulting a specialized Youngstown criminal attorney. It doesn’t matter whether your test was performed for legal purposes by authorities or for medical reasons by hospital staff—a prosecutor can potentially acquire and leverage these results against your case.Contact the Youngstown OVI attorneys at Youngstown Criminal Law Group in Youngstown at (330) 992-3036 for a deeper exploration of potential defenses that may apply to your circumstances.

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