The Difficult Answer

As an attorney, there are questions that you always get asked when you meet new people, or are out with family or friends.  These questions are usually pretty basic but the answers are rarely as simple.  Over a recent weekend, I was asked:

“Should I blow or not?”

Seems easy, right? While some attorney’s will adamantly say yes or no, I don’t think the answer is that simple. The problem with a simple answer is that your exact circumstances at the exact moment you are asked to blow matters as to what YOU should decide. The decision is ultimately yours.

Most people do not realize that if you drive under the influence and get caught, that you have two government entities to deal with.  No one forgets about the court proceedings.  It’s tough to forget about a case that may end up with you getting three hots and a cot for a period of time.  But many first time offenders do not realize that the Ohio BMV will take a shot at you as well. Your license can be suspended depending on your choice with limited recourse. For first time offenders:

  1. If you refuse to blow when the officer asks, the Ohio BMV will administratively suspend your license automatically for a year.
  2. If you do blow and are over the legal limit (BAC of 0.08 or higher), then the Ohio BMV will administratively suspend your license for 90 days.

So maybe that is a small difference to you right now, but it can be a huge difference if you need your car for your job or your kids.  You also likely will not be given privileges up front, but they are usually allowed after serving a portion of the time (usually 30 days for a refusal and 15 for an over the limit test).

It is also critical to point out that whether or not you blow, you can be charged with OVI.  The police have you complete the tests to provide evidence that you were impaired at that time.  You may find the prosecutor more willing to make a deal in these cases, but often the prosecutor will be just as successful, no matter what evidence is recovered.

To add more insult to injury, if you blow and your test is less than the legal limit (less than BAC of 0.08), you can still technically be charged with OVI. Although not common, other evidence can be used against you, like the other physical tests performed during a stop, to show that you were impaired while driving.  While the Ohio DMV will not automatically suspend your license, the court often will. Thus you may still end up with a suspended license even if you comply with the requirements of the Ohio BMV.

So while the question seems simple, the answer is not.  If I leave you with anything from this post, it that your choices when confronted by the police can determine the path you will take going forward.  If you do find yourself with an OVI charge, you should consult an attorney.  They can help you through the process and may help to alleviate some of the painful results of these cases.  I would be glad to review your case with you and start a plan of action to resolve your case. As always, your initial thirty minute case consultation is free.

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