Ohio Forced Blood Draws are Constitutional.

In Ohio, as opposed to most states, you do not have the choice of which one of these three tests (blood, breath, or urine) you will take. The officer gets to pick the test(s) he offers you. The only choice you get to make is to agree to submit to the test or refuse the test.

In the past, if a motorist declined to provide a sample of blood, breath, or urine, the accused driver’s license would automatically be suspended for declining; however, there’d be no alcohol test to use as evidence against the motorist. Now the rules have changed just last year, when the Ohio legislature passed a law stating that if an individual with prior DUI / OVI convictions will not submit to a blood, breath, or urine test, “the police officer who made the request may make use of whatever reasonable means are necessary to make sure that the individual submits to the required test of the individual’s blood.

The law permitting forced blood tests has been recently considered by an Ohio court of appeals in a case where the individual was arrested for DUI / OVI along with prior convictions. The arresting police officer requested that the accused submit to a breathalyzer test, but the defendant declined; therefore, the police officer took the defendant to the hospital for blood to be drawn. The defendant stated over and over again that they didn’t want their blood drawn, and they physically resisted any attempt to perform the procedure. The police officer restrained the defendant’s arm while the healthcare professional implanted the needle and drew the defendant’s blood. The trial court ruled that this blood test will be admissible at trial; thus, the defendant pleads guilty to OVI / DUI. and appeals to the District Court of Appeals.

Upon appeal, the defendant contended that the law permitting forced blood draws is unconstitutional because a forced blood draw happens to be an unreasonable search and seizure. The Court of Appeals found that the intrusion on an individual’s Fourth Amendment interests is outweighed by the promotion of the government’s genuine interest in public safety. Thus, the court came to the conclusion that any forced blood draw under these kinds of circumstances is constitutional.

An individual with prior DUI / OVI convictions who refuses a breath, urine, or blood alcohol test will be in a losing situation: there is going to be longer administrative license suspension for declining the test, and also the results of the blood test will be admissible at trial.

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