You Have the Right to Refuse Field Sobriety, Breathalyzer and Blood Alcohol Tests
You have the right to refuse the field sobriety, breathalyzer, blood test or any other chemical test requested by the officer. However, if you refuse, your license will be suspended for one year if this is your first OVI (called an "ALS" suspension). You may, however, be able to get driving privileges for work or school after the first 30 days of the ALS suspension.
But There Are Penalties Associated with Refusing
If you have prior OVI convictions or have previously refused a breathalyzer or blood test, you could face harsher -- even doubled -- penalties if you refuse the tests.
You Have the Right to Appeal your License Suspension
If you refuse to take the breathalyzer or blood test or you take and fail the tests, you have 30 days to request an appeal hearing to determine whether all of the proper legal procedures were followed. If you don't request this hearing within 30 days, you cannot stop your license from being suspended. A good reason to talk to an experienced OVI lawyer now.
If You Refuse, It is Usually Harder for the Prosecutor to Build a Case Against You
It is much harder for the prosecutor to convict you if you refused all sobriety tests because without this evidence, they will likely have no, if any, hard evidence to use against you.
You Don't Have to Answer Incriminating Questions from the Officer
You do not have to answer any incriminating questions from an officer (such as "Have you been drinking?" or "How much have you had to drink?") when you're pulled over for suspicion of OVI.
The Prosecutor Must Prove You Were Impaired Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Before you can be found guilty of an OVI in Ohio, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you were operating a vehicle and that the alcohol or drug level in your blood and/or breath was over the legal limit or that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Penalties for Conviction of a First Offense OVI in Ohio
A first offense OVI is a first degree misdemeanor which carries a minimum sentence of three days in jail or three days in a driver intervention program and a maximum sentence of six months in jail.
The Legal Limit in Ohio is 0.08
Ohio law finds a driver to be "under the influence" if he or she has a breathalyzer or blood alcohol level of .08 or more or if he or she is impaired as evidenced by the observations of the arresting officer.
If You Are Under 21, The Legal Limit is Lower
If you are under 21, you can be charged with a special, zero tolerance OVI called a OVUAC (operating a vehicle after underage alcohol consumption) if you have a blood alcohol content over .02.
You Have a Right to a Jury Trial That Must Vote Unanimously to Find You Guilty
You have a right to a jury trial in an OVI case, and all eight people on the jury have to agree in order to find you guilty.
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