DUI Suspects Forced Into BAC Testing For The 4th
By: Gerri Elder
Drivers in Columbus, Ohio who were suspected of DUI over the holiday weekend had no option to refuse blood-alcohol content testing. Following in the footsteps of other "no refusal" DUI law enforcement programs, such as the recent no refusal weekend in Illinois, the Columbus Division of Police held their own "no-refusal" event for the July 4th holiday weekend.
No refusal means that drivers suspected of DUI are required to submit to either a breath test to determine their blood-alcohol content or a warrant for a blood draw will be issued. In Columbus, two local judges were on call to sign the warrants for those refusing breath tests. Anyone who decided not to take a breath test was taken to the hospital to wait for the warrant and have a nurse forcibly draw a blood sample, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
The no refusal programs are set up to work in a timely and efficient manner. Under Ohio DUI law, a blood draw to determine a suspected DUI driver's blood-alcohol content must be taken within three hours of the alleged violation. That means that there is no time to wait for a sleepy judge to shower, get dressed and make his way to the office to review a request for a blood draw warrant for blood-alcohol content testing. Judges are prepared for the possibility that they will be called on to sign the warrants and every effort is made to make sure the process is done quickly.
Without a blood-alcohol content reading, prosecutors have a harder time getting DUI convictions. Although there is generally other evidence introduced in a DUI case, such as dash cam videos and the testimony of the arresting officer, the results of a breath test or blood test are crucial to a DUI case. Since a DUI prosecution can quickly fall apart without this key piece of evidence, no refusal weekends are becoming popular with law enforcement.
Law enforcement officials in Columbus say that their goal with the no refusal weekend was to raise awareness about drunk driving and influence people who may be over the legal limit not to take a chance with driving while intoxicated. Columbus had its first no refusal weekend on Memorial Day weekend, during which three forced blood draw warrants were issued.
Across the state and the country, law enforcement stepped up patrols and DUI checkpoints. Since drunk drivers are generally out on the road earlier in the day on the 4th of July than during other holidays, many police departments had officers working overtime to have more officers out on the roads in an attempt to curb drunk driving.