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If you have been arrested for a DUI, you are probably filled with questions about the process and your legal rights. Although the situation may seem challenging, there are certain defenses that you can potentially assert in the face of a DUI charge. One way to attack a DUI allegation is to examine the procedures and equipment used at the time that you were arrested to determine whether they were appropriate. If the equipment is not calibrated appropriately, blood alcohol and breath test results may not be accurate. There are also certain procedures that law enforcement officials must use when they are determining whether someone is driving a vehicle while being in excess of the legal limit. At the Law Firm of A. Dale Naticchia, our Cleveland DUI lawyer has aided people in Cleveland, Akron, and elsewhere in Cuyahoga County with fighting DUI charges in an aggressive and efficient manner.Ohio’s DUI/OVI Laws and the Use of Blood Alcohol and Breath Tests
Under Ohio law, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated. The laws refer to this crime as operating a vehicle while intoxicated, or OVI for shorthand. The way that intoxication is determined is by the amount of alcohol in your blood at the time that you are detained or arrested. If your blood alcohol level is in excess of .08, you are considered intoxicated.
The primary way that officers determine whether your blood alcohol content is in excess of this limit is by administering a drunk driving test and using a breathalyzer device. Although you can refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, there may be some consequences that result. The officer is not legally required to tell you what the penalties are, so it is good to make yourself aware. The first time that you refuse to submit to the test, you face a one-year suspension of your license. For your second refusal within six years of your first refusal, the suspension is two years, and it is three years for your third refusal in six years. In the event that you have received two or more OVI convictions within six years of your last offense, law enforcement officials can resort to reasonable means to require you to submit to this test. This can include holding down an individual by the wrists so that a nurse may draw blood.
Also, Ohio recently passed stricter laws designed to cut down on DUIs. One component of the new laws places greater emphasis on using ignition interlock devices, which require a driver to blow into the device and to register a blood alcohol reading before the vehicle will start. If the breathalyzer senses a reading of 0.08 or more, the vehicle will not start. Just like other breathalyzers, these devices are subject to malfunctions and errors and must be monitored routinely.
An important step in defending yourself against a DUI charge is to obtain any and all evidence regarding the incident. This includes records of when the breathalyzer device was last calibrated, or any blood test results from a chemical test. Moreover, the law requires officers to have certain facts or evidence before initiating a traffic stop. If they do not have a reasonable basis or probable cause, any evidence derived from the encounter can be suppressed. Also, if the officer did not administer a test appropriately, this may be a basis for throwing out the charge. There are also certain recordkeeping procedures that must be followed when logging evidence and filling out forms regarding the blood alcohol and breath tests that were administered. A seasoned OVI lawyer can assist you with devising a strategy to challenge their results if appropriate.Explore Your Legal Options with a Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer in Cleveland
A drunk driving charge can have dire consequences for your future, including professional and personal opportunities. At the Law Firm of A. Dale Naticchia, we have guided many Ohio residents through the legal process. Serving clients in Cleveland, Akron, Parma, Bedford, Berea, Rocky River, Garfield Heights, Stow, and Barberton, we have handled a wide variety of cases and know how serious this matter may be for your future. To schedule a free consultation, call us now at 216-520-5297 or contact us online to get started.