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What happens if I refuse a blood alcohol test in Cincinnati, Ohio?

If an officer arrests you for operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) in Cincinnati, you can refuse to submit to a blood alcohol test. You should be aware, however, that you would face penalties for doing so. This can include a license suspension, time in jail, and fines. And even if you refuse, police officers may still force you to take the test.

BAC Test

Can an officer make me take a blood alcohol test?

Yes. If a police officer lawfully arrests you for drunk driving, he can compel you to take a blood, breath, or urine test. Under Ohio’s implied consent laws, those operating a vehicle in the state give their implied consent to this chemical testing.

So how would the police collect a blood sample if you refuse?

The law states that an officer may use “reasonable means” to collect the chemical evidence from a breath, blood, or urine test. This includes an officer holding your arm down so a medical professional can collect a blood sample from you.

So even if you refuse, the police may still acquire the test and the state can use the results to charge you with and convict you of OVI.

What are the penalties for refusing chemical testing after an arrest?

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) will issue an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) if you refuse the chemical test after arrest. For a first offense of refusing to be tested, the ALS lasts for one year. You may, however, be able to get a special permit to drive to work, school, and other activities after 30 days.

Other penalties for refusing chemical testing may include:

  • Three days to six months in jail
  • Fines between $375 and $1,075
  • A driver’s license suspension (separate from an ALS)
  • A three-day driver intervention program
  • The installation of an ignition interlock device

Prior OVI convictions or prior refusals call for more harsh penalties under Ohio law. A second refusal, or a refusal after an OVI conviction, calls for a minimum of six days in jail. Driver’s license suspensions, fines, and other punishments may also increase.

How can I get my license reinstated?

If a court revoked your driving privileges because you refused blood alcohol testing, you have 30 days to request an appeal. Talk to an OVI defense lawyer during this time to ensure officers handled your arrest properly and you have reason to appeal.

If your case does not warrant an appeal or you lose your appeal, you can still regain your driving privileges after your “hard suspension.” For first time offenders, this period is 30 days. Your lawyer will be able to walk you through the process of getting a permit through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) that will allow you to drive to work, school, religious events, and medical treatment.

If you do not opt to get your temporary permit, you can have your license reinstated after your suspension is over. You will receive a letter from the BMV at that time, after which you must show proof of insurance and pay a $475 fee.

How can The Farrish Law Firm, L.P.A. help?

If you are facing charges for drunk driving or refusing a blood alcohol test in Cincinnati, Ohio, The Farrish Law Firm, L.P.A. can help. We examine the facts of your case and determine if the arresting officers made procedural mistakes or if there are other grounds on which to fight the charges. We can also help you regain your driving privileges as soon as possible. Contact us today at 513-621-8700 to schedule an appointment.