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Is a positive breath test an automatic OVI conviction?

Any time there is a holiday, there are also parties, and where there are parties, there usually is drinking. Despite your best intentions, you may find yourself on the side of the road with a cop asking you to take a breath test to determine intoxication.

If the results are positive, showing you were operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, does that mean you will have an OVI on your record? The good news is the answer is no.

The accuracy of breath tests

First of all, a breath test is only one piece of evidence, and not even a completely accurate one. Many things can go wrong:

  • The calibration of the device was incorrect or incomplete.
  • The software had a glitch or needed an update.
  • The police officer did not have sufficient training to perform the test.
  • You ingested a substance that led to a false positive.
  • The way in which you blew into the device negatively affected the outcome.

Breathalyzers are manmade tools, after all, which means they are subject to error. This is also important to remember if you use your own device before getting behind the wheel. You may think it is safe to drive based on your reading, but the officer's reading can show different results.

The police may not have you take the test right away at the side of the road. If not, they only have two hours in which to do so, according to Ohio law.

Other factors in your case

The court will likely consider other factors as well and not rest a judgment on only one piece of the story. These other sources of evidence may also contain errors. For example, the officer may not have had reasonable cause to pull you over in the first place, or other circumstances, such as your health, may have been responsible for what appeared to be drunk driving.

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Altick & Corwin Co., L.P.A.
One South Main Street
Suite 1590
Dayton, OH 45402

Toll Free: 888-542-3148
Phone: 937-608-9460
Fax: 937-223-5100
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