If you are a driver in Ohio, it is important to be aware of the implied consent law related to operating a vehicle while under the influence.
In the unfortunate event that you are arrested for suspicion of drunk driving, having knowledge of the implied consent law can be beneficial.
Meaning of Implied Consent
Under Ohio law, a driver is considered to have consented to a blood, breath, or urine test if the driver is arrested by a police officer who has reasonable grounds to believe the driver was operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI). It is important to note that a person need not be actually driving the vehicle. Rather, pursuant to §4511.194, a person may be arrested if they are deemed to be in “physical control” of the vehicle, which is defined as being in the driver’s seat with the keys, even if the keys are not in the ignition.
The officer must inform the arrested person that refusal to take a test will result in license suspension. However, according to §4511.191(A)(5)(b), the officer may use “whatever reasonable means are necessary to ensure that the person submits to a chemical test.” The statute further provides for criminal and civil immunity for the officer from a claim of assault and battery, unless he or she “acted with malicious purpose, in bad faith, or in a wanton or reckless manner.”
Consequences of Refusing to take the Test
For a first-time offender, the refusal to take the test will result in a one-year suspension of the person’s driver’s license. If it is the second offense within the past six years, the suspension will be two years. If it is the third offense within the last six years, the suspension will be three years. The suspension may be appealed at the initial appearance for the charge that resulted from the arrest or within 30 days of the initial appearance. Importantly, the suspension will continue during the appeal process.
Pursuant to §4511.197, a person may appeal on the ground that one of the following conditions was not met:
- The arresting officer had reasonable ground to believe the arrested person was driving or in physical control of a vehicle under the influence and the person was actually placed under arrest;
- the officer requested the arrested person to submit to testing;
- the officer informed the arrested person of the potential use of reasonable means to force the person to submit to testing; or the officer informed the person of the consequences of refusing to be tested;
- the arrested person refused to be tested; or
- the arrested person failed the test.
If it is found that all of the conditions were met, the judge will uphold the suspension.
If you have been arrested and charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence, you face potentially significant penalties. Contact the experienced Ohio DUI attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC today and let us fight for you.