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Ohio criminal law: Is taking a breath test optional?

When police officers in Ohio suspect a driver of operating his or her vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, they will ask that individual to give a breath sample. This is standard procedure. Does one have to submit to such a request? Yes and no. In either case, a criminal law attorney may be able to help deal with the consequences of either decision.

Technically speaking, when one obtains a driver's license, he or she is agreeing to implied consent laws. This means a lot of things, but in regard to drunk driving it means that one agrees to perform any sobriety testing asked of him or her, including a breath test. However, if a person does not wish to submit to such a test, a police officer cannot force it.

Failing to give a breath sample when it is requested is not without consequences. One's driving privileges may be automatically suspended or revoked. This, of course, can affect one's life both personally and professionally.

Saying no is a right. No one should feel forced to give a breath sample. However, it is important to understand the consequences of exercising that right. Ohio residents who have taken a stand and refused to provide breath samples after being stopped for suspected impairment may be able to fight any charges resulting from such actions. An experienced criminal law attorney can help fight drunk driving charges in court and will even work diligently to help the client restore his or her driving privileges.

Source: FindLaw, "Can I Refuse to Take Field Sobriety Tests?", Accessed on July 20, 2017

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