OVI Breath Tests in Youngstown

Youngstown OVI lawyer Sean Logue knows that if you agreed to take a breath test when you were stopped for suspicion of OVI, and your test results showed a .08 percent blood alcohol concentration, the prosecutor will try to use that reading as evidence against you in court. It doesn’t matter if you are actually impaired; the law states that driving with a blood alcohol at or above .80 percent is illegal, so the county’s or municipality’s attorney will try to prosecute you regardless of your actual impairment. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles will also use your BAC level to suspend your license administratively in an ALS (administrative license suspension) if your results showed you over the maximum allowable limit.

The law in Ohio states that drivers are not allowed to drive if their blood alcohol concentration falls at 0.08 percent or above, and it lays out augmented penalties for those convicted of driving with a BAC of higher than 0.17 percent. No matter how affected or unaffected your normal abilities to walk, talk, and drive are by the alcohol you have consumed, it’s illegal to drive if your BAC is 0.08 percent or higher.

When the alcohol you have consumed does make you too impaired to drive, you can be charged with OVI, also known as operating a vehicle impaired (or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence). This is a separate version of the OVI offense from the “per se” one mentioned above. Refusing to take a breath test will automatically get you an OVI charge, because it’s assumed that if you were not impaired by the alcohol, you’d have consented.

When you are stopped by police and the officers suspect you might be impaired, they will often ask you to take a breath test. There are three machines approved by the Ohio Department of Health that can be used for this purpose: the BAC Datamaster, the Intoxilyzer 5000, and the Intoxilyzer 8000.

Officers generally carry portable devices in their cruisers. These are handheld and have been approved for roadside use. The small devices are referred to as PBT. The good news for drivers is that the results of these portable machines are not allowed to be used as evidence, though a prosecutor might try to use them during your first hearing as evidence of the officer’s determination of probable cause for arrest.

There is a “per se” variation of OVI for BAC’s of .80 percent to .17 percent and one for BAC’s of .17 percent and above. The latter is referred to as a “high test” or “high tier” OVI and the charge is called a “per se high test” OVI. There are mandatory penalties that go with each of these per se charges.

Youngstown’s Breath Test Machines: How They Work

When a suspected drunk driver submits to a breath test, he is asked to breathe into a machine. Inside the device is a chamber that collects the breath and shines an infrared light through it. There is a sensor at the other end of the chamber that measures alcohol molecules. Alcohol absorbs infrared radiation at a rate that is predictable and known to scientists (and the makers of breath test machines.) The sensor measures the amount of infrared radiation that has been absorbed and calculates it to show the blood alcohol content of your breath.

Breath Test Rules, Regulations, and Laws

Ohio law addresses breath tests in the Revised Code Section 4511.19(D)(1). This section lays out the statutes, regulations, and rules that must be followed in regards to breath tests, and what breath test evidence is allowed to be used in a trial. One of the things the law states is that breath tests must be given within three hours of the time of the initial stop by police. If it is not, that evidence becomes inadmissible. The Ohio Department of Health monitors the maintenance, inspection, and calibration of breath test machines, and issue licenses or permits to the people charged with operating the machines and keeping records about it. Ohio law allows defense attorneys to attack the accuracy of their clients’ individual test results but not the validity and reliability of the machines themselves.

A failed breath test does not mean you’re doomed. Youngstown OVI lawyer Sean Logue has a deep well of knowledge and a lot of experience in OVI defense. Call him at (330) 992-3036.

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