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Can you refuse a breath test during an OVI traffic stop?

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2022 | Drunk Driving

If an Ohio police officer suspects you of operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI), they will pull you over and talk to you. If your actions or answers to their questions make them more suspicious, they might ask you to exit your vehicle for a field sobriety test. They may also request that you perform a chemical breath test.

Whether you worry that the two beers you drink might make you fail the test or you simply don’t trust the machines because you’ve heard about how frequently they fail, you may want to decline the chemical breath test.

Can an officer force you the perform of breath test during a traffic stop?

There are consequences for refusing

An officer cannot force you to perform a chemical breath test, but they won’t ignore your refusal either. Ohio has a law in place that affects your driving privileges. Specifically, state law says that everyone on the roads had given implied consent to chemical testing when a police officer has probable cause to ask for it.

If you don’t submit to the test during a traffic stop, the officer can potentially arrest you at that point. You may face charges of violating the impaired consent law in addition to an OVI charge. Failing to submit to a breath test will trigger an administrative license suspension. For most drivers, that suspension will last for one year, but repeat refusals or prior OVI charges may increase that to a two-year suspension.

Understanding the rules that apply during OVI traffic stops can reduce the risk of breaking the law unintentionally.