How to Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Ohio

A Breathalyzer is a device used by Ohio law enforcement officers, as well as those in other states, to estimate blood alcohol content from a sample of a driver's breath. If pulled over by the police under a suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), you may be asked to perform a Breathalyzer test. Since a Breathalyzer does not directly measure the amount of alcohol in your system, you may wish to decline to take the Breathalyzer test. It is your right to refuse the Breathalyzer test. However, Ohio's implied consent law passed in 2008 has severe repercussions for drivers who decline a requested Breathalyzer test.

Things You'll Need

  • Valid driver's license
  • Proof of vehicle registration


    • 1

      Know how much you have been drinking and the amount of time between drinks. You are guilty of driving under the influence in Ohio if the amount of alcohol in your blood is .08 percent. Typically, your body will process .25 percent of alcohol each hour. If you have two drinks over a three- or four-hour time period, you should be under the legal limit. In such a case, take the Breathalyzer test to convince the officer you are under the limit.

    • 2

      Perform any field sobriety tests that the officer requests of you. The officer may ask you to walk a straight line or touch your finger to your nose. Calmly do what the officer asks. You want to appear in control and cooperative to the officer if you decide to refuse the Breathalyzer test and your case goes to court.

    • 3

      Know the consequences of refusing the Breathalyzer test. For you to hold a valid driver's license in the state of Ohio, you have to give your consent for the police to give you a Breathalyzer test if you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. But if you take the Breathalyzer test, you may be giving the police evidence against you.

      If you refuse to take the breathalyzer test, under an Ohio law passed in 2010, you will be charged with criminal penalties. If you are later proven to be driving under the influence and have refused the breathalyzer test, you face a longer jail sentence for the refusal. Your refusal may double the amount of time you need to serve and the amount of fines you may have to pay for a DUI conviction.

    • 4

      Take into account any previous DUI convictions you may have incurred in the past. If you have one other DUI conviction in the last 20 years in the state of Ohio, you will receive mandatory jail time, an immediate one-year suspension of your driver's license and fines of $375 to $1,075 if you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test.

      For each additional DUI over a 20 year time period, you will face increased jail time, loss of driver's license and impoundment of your vehicle. If you have prior DUI convictions, think carefully before refusing the breathalyzer test.

    • 5

      Refuse to take the test by calmly telling the officer, "No," when asked to take the breathalyzer test. At this point you will probably be arrested and taken to the law agency's headquarters for booking.

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