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Ask a Columbus Drunk Driving Attorney: What is implied consent?

Columbus drunk driving lawyer

Why you need to contact a Columbus drunk driving attorney

Did you know that simply refusing to take the blood alcohol concentration test (BAC) can result in a minimum one-year license suspension? (Learn more about crimes that can get your license suspended here.)

This begs the question, why? A full year seems like a pretty steep penalty for refusing to take a test. Well, the short answer is what’s known as ‘implied consent.

Implied consent

If you’re pulled over by a police office who believes you are driving drunk, it’s true that you can politely refuse a field sobriety test. However, the officer may still arrest you under suspicion of DUI if you were weaving, driving too slow, driving too fast, tailgating, or stopping abruptly, among other things.

Once the arresting officer takes you to a detention center or medical facility and asks you to take a chemical test, ‘implied consent’ kicks in.

It turns out that when you sign all of the documentation to apply for a driver’s license, you are agreeing to the implied consent laws in the fine print. Essentially, implied consent laws state that you will provide your driver’s license and proof of insurance to an officer if requested, and, more importantly, that you will submit to a chemical test (breath, blood, or urine) if you are arrested under suspicion of DUI.

But this doesn’t mean that the world will stop spinning if you refuse a chemical test.  And often that is the advisable course of action.  There are two types of OVI charges in Ohio.  The first is an “impaired” violation.  They have to prove that you were impaired or under the influence of alcohol while driving.  The second is a “per se” violation.  This only requires proof that you were driving with an alcohol content (blood, breath, or urine) above the limit.  And that is typically a lot easier to prove than an “impaired” violation.

Without a test, there is no “per se” violation.  So life is better most of the time without a test.  But this gets trickier on multiple offenders.  It can be a separate crime to refuse if someone has prior convictions.  And in that case, it may not be so advisable to refuse.

What’s all this mean?  It’s best to talk to someone qualified before making the decision to take the test.  But absent that, here’s a good rule of thumb:  Don’t take any test you can’t pass.  That would be foolish.

What about the suspensions?

Columbus drunk driving lawyerIt’s true that a refusal results in an immediate Administrative Suspension of at least one year (maybe more depending on your prior record).  It’s also true that a failed test result is only a 90 day Administrative Suspension (again, maybe more if there’s a prior record).

So this should be simple:  Take the test.  But what the police don’t tell you is that if you refuse the test and get a one year suspension, it will often turn into a 180 suspension if you plead guilty.  And if you fail the test and get a 90 day suspension, that, too, will turn into a 180 day suspension if you plead guilty.

They don’t tell you this on the roadside.  Instead they just compare the two options and try to get you to take the test.  Again, don’t get hoodwinked here.  The police have a job to do, and it’s not to help you save your license or defend your case.  You need an attorney for that.

Hire a Columbus drunk driving attorney

While smaller traffic violations might seem like no big deal, OVIs and DUIs carry much steeper consequences—especially if an injury or property damage was involved. Without proper representation, your ability to drive, work and lead a normal life may be in jeopardy.

You need an expert.

Yavitch & Palmer’s attorneys specialize in OVI cases. If you’ve been charged with an OVI, contact one of our Columbus drunk driving attorneys today. They will evaluate every detail of your case to get you back on the road.

Call Yavitch & Palmer today at 614-224-6142, or use our contact form to schedule an appointment at our office in downtown Columbus.

Photo Credit: mrjorgen via Compfight cc

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