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Can police force you to take an OVI test?

Police officers can often be intimidating, regardless of whether you have even committed a crime. The many stories of power abuse and excessive force have cast a shadow on law enforcement. As a result, many Ohio residents want as little to do with police as possible.

This concern may come up during a traffic stop if an officer asks you to complete field sobriety tests or blow into a breathalyzer. It’s important to know your rights – and possible consequences – if you don’t want to comply.

Ohio law uses a term called “implied consent,” which means that residents agree to abide by chemical testing laws every time they get behind the wheel. Refusing a chemical or field test will not prevent an OVI charge. Police can still claim that you were impaired without an exact test result of alcohol in your body. Actually, the court prosecutor might point out that your refusal must be a sign that you tried to hide your intoxication.

You can still choose to decline the test, but be warned that the officer will almost certainly suspend your license and issue additional punishment, such as time behind bars. You can schedule a hearing within 30 days to have a court evaluate the situation. This can give you an opportunity to defend yourself against the OVI charges.

However, as with any other encounter with the police, officers can only use reasonable force with you. Regardless of your sobriety, Ohio police cannot use excessive violence or physically force you to take a test, although some other states allow forced testing. Criminal charges aside, you still have legal rights.

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