In March 2023, the Columbus Division of Police launched a mobile breath testing vehicle program, called the DUI Interceptor. This mobile breath testing vehicle makes it possible for law enforcement to check the blood alcohol levels of suspected OVI drivers at the scene instead of the officers having to take the suspect into a police facility for testing. Even though the DUI Interceptor uses the same machines used at Columbus Police Posts, because this mobile testing center is so new, there are concerns with accuracy and other variables that may affect the results of the breath test.
Do I have to do field sobriety tests? Do I have to take a breath test in Ohio?
When an officer suspects you’re intoxicated, they may ask you to perform several standard field sobriety tests (SFSTs) — it should be known, these tests are not mandatory and you may refuse them. The breath test is not exactly the same — as a licensed driver in Ohio, there is implied consent to take the test, however, you still may refuse to do so. Refusing these tests will likely still result in arrest and possible license suspension but will also result in a lack of evidence against you for the charges alleged. Even if your license is suspended for refusing the breath test, you may still be able to get driving privileges or even your entire license back at your first court appearance.
What is OVI in Ohio?
Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.19 sets out that it shall be operate any vehicle if they are under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of drugs and alcohol. If police officer have probable cause to believe that you are impaired you can be arrested for drunk driving. Officers will also ask you to submit to a breath test to determine your BAC levels. A BAC level above a .08 is illegal in Ohio. An OVI is the same as an DUI, DWI, and OMVI. All of these charges address the same type of activity, but over the years Ohio has changed the name of the violation.
What are the possible penalties for an Ohio OVI?
If you are convicted of OVI for the first time you are subject to the mandatory minimum penalties, these include a three day jail term, or a 72-hour Driver Intervention Program, a $375 fine, and a one year license suspension. It is important to remember these are the minimum penalties the court most impose. OVI is a 1st Degree Misdemeanor which means that the court may impose up to 6 months in jail, a $1075 fine, and a three year license suspension.