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More on Blood, Breath, and Urine Tests

When a driver is stopped for a suspected OVI, he or she is often asked to submit to certain tests designed to determine his or her level of intoxication. In addition to Field Sobriety Tests mentioned elsewhere on this site, certain chemical tests are administered for the same purpose. The specific tests are blood tests, breath tests, and urine tests.

Breath Tests

There are two ways a driver’s breath can be tested by police. One way is to use a handheld device, sometimes called a Breathalyzer, that the officer keeps in his car. Though the results of these handheld devices are inadmissible in court in the state of Ohio, they can lead to the driver being arrested for OVI.

The second way a driver’s breath can be tested is to use a stationary machine at a police station or state trooper barracks. The results of these machines can be used against you in court. A driver being tested on one of these machines is asked to blow into the device for as long as he or she can, and as hard as they can. Infrared waves are sent through the breath and the machine picks up energy that is unabsorbed by the alcohol in the sample. The more infrared light that is absorbed by the driver’s breath, the higher his or her Blood Alcohol Content (BAC).

Ohio’s legal alcohol limit is 0.08 percent. If the results of a driver’s breath test come out to be that level or higher, he or she will be arrested for OVI per se. This means that his or her BAC is evidence that he or she was driving drunk. If the driver’s results are 0.17 percent or higher, he or she will be charged with a more severe “high test” OVI, which comes with penalties that are harsher than if the person had a lower BAC level.

As with all tests used to determine a person’s blood alcohol content, a positive result does not mean the test was accurate. Many things can affect the test, such as the length of time between the person’s last drink and the time they took the test, if they have vomited or burped immediately before the test, and more. The tests have certain procedures and protocols that must be followed when they are given. If the person administering the test fails to do so, the results will be inaccurate. A Youngstown OVI lawyer with experience will know what to look for, and might be able to contest them in court.

Urine and Blood Tests

Generally, urine and blood tests are given to determine if a driver is under the influence of drugs, though they can be used to find alcohol. Usually, they are used when a driver has refused a breath test. As with a breath test, you can refuse to take it, but in that case, the officer will simply get a search warrant and force you to take it.

There are procedures and protocols that govern how urine and blood tests are given. A few of these include the following:

  • Your blood or urine sample must be collected before a witness.
  • Your blood or urine sample must be procured within three hours of the OVI you’re accused of.
  • Samples that end with a positive result must be tested a second time to confirm the results.
  • The analysis of the sample must do so according to Ohio regulations, and must be performed by someone qualified and trained as per Ohio law.

If any of the above items are not followed, the results of a blood or urine test can be skewed, showing the driver as intoxicated when he or she was not. Your attorney may be able to get the results thrown out, which will give you a better chance of getting the charges reduced or dismissed.

Warnings and Advice From Law Enforcement in Regards to Chemical Tests

Cops request drivers to submit to chemical testing when they think the drivers are under the influence. When they make the request, officers are supposed to advise drivers of their rights, verbally and in writing. The written form is Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Form 2255. It tells a driver that he or she is under arrest and that the driver has two hours to submit to one or more chemical tests. Failure to do so is considered a refusal to submit and will result in the driver’s license being immediately suspended. The form also tells a driver that he or she is allowed to request their own, independent, test that they must pay for.

A witness must certify on the Form 2255 that the arresting officer read it to the driver. The witness is usually another cop. The driver is then handed the form. This is evidence that the driver is aware of his or her rights and that the cops obeyed the law.

Can I Refuse to Submit to a Test?

You may feel that the cops have no reason to pull you over and that you’re not intoxicated. However, it’s best if you go ahead and submit to the tests. If you refuse, it causes you more headaches than a positive result will.

If you find yourself with a positive result from a blood, breath, or urine test, don’t despair. 

Youngstown OVI lawyer Sean Logue knows his way around OVI laws and procedures. Contact us today!

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