To Blow or Not to Blow... That Is The Question
As we inch more and more into the reopening of society, more and more people are going to begin the process of social gatherings. Especially as we get closer to the July 4th holiday,
I suspect many of us will be emerging from out imposed quarantine and heading to spend time with family and friends.
Now, for me, that sounds like a recipe for great BBQ, a nice evening fire and some quality time with some friends. Those of us who have been sitting at home in the evening enjoying their favorite beverages might soon be doing so in locations away from their back yards or garages.
People will be travelling more and more, and ultimately, when you mix a cocktail of drinking and driving, it can be a recipe for disaster.
As for sipping favorite beverages, I encourage you to some day ask me about a certain Cinnamon Habanero Mead called Dragon’s Breath from McAlpine Meadery, but I digress…
So, let’s discuss for a moment what to do in the event that you are pulled over for a suspected OVI offense.
To begin, the first part is to actually pull over to the side of the road. This is not the time for trying to determine if your hopped up kidmobile can outrun the authorities.
Seriously though, in today’s climate, if you are in any capacity trying to evade the police on a traffic stop, your problems will exponentially increase, I promise you.
After you pull of to the side of the road, it is always the best practice to keep your hands either on the steering wheel or in plain sight. You can always grab your license and registration, but I generally recommend doing so after the officer has approached your vehicle, so they can see what you are doing, and avoid any confusion. If you are stopped at night, it is a good idea to turn on the interior light to illuminate the inside of the car as the officer approaches you. This will make the officer feel much more comfortable approaching the car, and again, deescalating any potential for conflict in these scenarios is always a better choice.
Next, when asked, say as little as possible. Be polite and respectful, but do not incriminate yourself by telling the officer that you only had so and so many beers and don’t feel drunk.
I promise you, that’s always a bad move.
The question I get asked most by people concerns what happens when a driver is subsequently arrested and taken to the station. If you get arrested for an OVI in Ohio, the officer will typically ask you to take a breath or blood test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). In most instances, if the results show your BAC level is at least .08 percent, then that could be enough evidence to convict you of operating a motor vehicle while impaired.
According to Ohio’s “implied consent” law, anyone who operates a motor vehicle on any public road in Ohio automatically consents to a blood, breath, or urine test after being arrested for drunk driving. Officers are required to explain why you’re under arrest and the consequences for failing a chemical test.
However, do you have to take a post-arrest chemical test? Well, no, but understand that simply refusing does not make the problem go away. While you have a right to refuse, doing so can lead to harsh penalties that are separate from the criminal penalties you face for an OVI.
If this is your first time refusing, your driver’s license will be administratively suspended for up to one year by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). For a second refusal within the past 10 years, your driver’s license will be suspended for up to two years. For a third refusal within 10 years, your driver’s license will be suspended for up to three years.
If you have been convicted of drunk driving in Ohio within the last 20 years, refusing a chemical test can also lead to enhanced penalties. Basically, the minimum jail term for a standard OVI will be doubled.
So, in essence, yes, you can refuse a post-arrest chemical test, but one must be aware that doing so will incur a variety of administrative penalties. But let us not forget that the best practice in these situations is to simply not drink and drive.
I would urge everyone to use a designated driver any time you drink, regardless of whether it’s a holiday or not. Stay safe, and please remember that staying alive is the best way to enjoy a good BBQ…and mead…seriously, the mead.
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