In Ohio, operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) is a serious charge that can have a dramatic effect on a person’s life, if they are convicted. With the potential penalties including jail time, fines, a driver’s license suspension and other problems, such as raised insurance rates, it is wise to consider the options to formulate a defense against these allegations. Often, law enforcement tests a driver using a breathalyzer to determine the blood-alcohol content.
Many might think this is a sure-fire way for the legal system to have an accurate gauge. But, new information is calling into question the validity of these tests. Those who have been arrested for OVI should think about lodging a defense by asserting the breath tests could have been inaccurate.
A New York Times investigation found that many police departments across the nation are using breathalyzers that are inaccurate for a variety of reasons. If people are arrested and charged based on these machines, it could be a defense to assert the machine was malfunctioning, it was not properly calibrated, the officer used it inappropriately or there were other mitigating factors with it.
Breath machines must be maintained; they should have working and up-to-date software; and chemical solutions should have scientific validity. Many of these issues and others are rendering the machines ineffective and people are arrested, charged and convicted due to their results. Anecdotes include one department that had rats in the machine. In Massachusetts and New Jersey, 30,000 tests were deemed inadmissible because of mistakes or issues with the government standards.
Since an OVI arrest can cause such disruption in a person’s life, it is important to think about strategies to defend against the charges. In the past, questioning the breathalyzer test was not perceived as an effective method to combat OVI allegations. Now, with this information, people who were not intoxicated or fell under the legal limit and should not have been arrested could use this information.