Drinking alcoholic beverages is a common activity, and Cincinnati residents often enjoy drinks with friends during weekend social events or after-work happy hours. In order to prevent alcohol-related accidents, there are various sobriety tests and forms of technology that aid police in detecting drunk driving and collecting evidence for a drunk driving charge. While these tools can be helpful, if used improperly or determined to be unreliable, they can create unnecessary legal headaches for those accused of drunk driving.
The use of the Intoxilyzer 8000, an alcohol breath-tester used to measure BAC levels in Ohio, is currently the subject of a legal appeal that will decide whether the breath-tester will remain a tool available for Athens County police to use in collecting evidence for drunk driving charges. The machine has been challenged before because of criticism that the machine was unreliable. This latest challenge relates to who is qualified to operate the breath-tester and whether written standards exist to determine such qualification. The trial court judge previously held that the machine should not be used until the state develops written operator standards. The city has appealed that ruling, calling it "patently absurd."
In Ohio, the official drunk driving offense is called operating a vehicle impaired (OVI), but this charge is effectively the same as DUI or DWI. The legal BAC level is .08 percent and a BAC level above that amount can result in a suspended driver's license, a criminal record and increased penalties for potential future offenses, even for first time offenders. In many situations, however, a person accused of OVI may be able to challenge the traffic stop or arrest due to constitutional issues or call into question the accuracy or validity of a sobriety test, breath test or blood alcohol test. While some people who appear to be drunk actually are driving while impaired, others may have biochemical explanations for a high BAC reading or other reasons for suspicious driving.
When facing drunk driving charges, the penalties can be severe. For this reason, it is important to develop a defensive strategy right away. An experienced attorney can help defendants examine the facts and analyze the evidence to obtain the best possible result.
Source: Athens News, "City argues that banning use of alcohol breath-tester would be 'patently absurd,'" Jim Phillips, Jan. 21, 2013