A new DUI bill may be signed this week by Gov. Ted Strickland to give Ohio police greater power over DUI suspects. Drivers with three or more convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not have the option of refusing blood or urine tests. Currently, police have to obtain a warrant from a judge before they can give those tests to drivers who refuse to take them voluntarily.

Most other states do not give this sort of power to their police unless there has been a fatal accident, or one which caused life-threating injuries, or when police have probable cause to suspect a driver of being intoxicated.

Work on this bill began in 2006 after an accident which killed two college students. That driver was unlicensed, had over ten previous DUI offences, and was driving his girlfriend’s car. He was eventually given a 38-year prison sentence.

Other Provisions of This Bill

  • Ankle bracelets required of previous offenders which test the wearer’s perspiration for alcohol
  • More power to punish anyone who lends their vehicle to a drunk driver
  • Mandatory one-year impounding of an offender’s auto

A Controversial Bill

Those opposed are expecting legal challenges to this bill after it begins to be enforced, which would be September of this year. One argument for the bill’s being unnecessary is that police can very easily get the warrant for blood tests which is currently required. There is always a judge on duty who can grant it.

Opponents also feel that the executive branch should not be taking power away from the courts. Ohio police are well-trained and are aware when a driver needs to be given a blood or Breathalizer test. Also, anyone who refuses such tests loses their driving license for a year.

Time will tell how effective this bill will be, if it is signed into law. Meanwhile, if you have been hurt in a DUI accident, or if you have a loved one who has been injured in that way, please contact our office for a free case evaluation.