“To Blow or Not To Blow”: Should one submit to a breathalyzer when stopped for DUI/OVI?

Many clients ask whether they did the right thing either by refusing to blow into a breathalyzer machine or by acquiescing to the test.

While the answer to that question will differ depending on how much alcohol an individual has consumed, it is important to keep in mind that collecting breath samples and/or requesting drivers to perform field sobriety tests is for the purpose of collecting evidence against you. A police officer may tell you prior to administrating any tests that he or she only wants to determine that you are “ok to drive,” but they are actually more concerned with building their case against you. Finding yourself being asked to exit the vehicle and take a variety of tests usually means you are likely not going to avoid an arrest no matter what you do. Since that is often the case, refusing to take sobriety tests leaves the State without necessary evidence to later convict you of DUI. Likewise, when you are told by an officer that you will lose your license if you do not blow, it is important to know that you will also lose your license if you blow over the legal limit. This means that you will not only lose your license, but then the State will have strong evidence in the form of the breathalyzer results on the DUI portion of the case. Finally, while most police officers do not mention this fact, there is a hearing procedure available to contest the “automatic” suspension.

So the answer to the oft-asked question of “To Blow or Not to Blow,” is the same answer to almost all legal questions: “IT DEPENDS.”  Some courts are more willing to plead an DUI/OVI down to a physical control or reckless operation if you were somewhat close to a 0.08, other courts have strict policies for not pleading DUI/OVI cases down.  If you are going to blow over a 0.17 its generally not a good idea to submit to a breathalyzer.  This is what’s known in Ohio as a high tier OVI, which generally doubles your penalties.

I hope this answers your inquiries of whether “To Blow or Not to Blow.”  If you have been arrested for DUI/OVI in the State of Ohio, and wish to discuss your case please visit my web page at www.demarcotriscaro.com for my contact information.