Daniel Tan | June 10, 2024 | 0 Comments

Police Must Obtain Warrant Before Getting Hospital Blood or Urine Test Results in OVI Case

As a driver in Columbus Ohio, you are most likely aware that the state has some serious enforcement of traffic laws when compared with other states.  Police, Highway Patrol, and Sherriff’s are everywhere.  Not only do you need to be aware of current traffic laws, but new additional laws are added occasionally. These driving laws address all manner of potential traffic violations including reckless driving, speeding tickets, driving under OVI suspension, DUI/OVI cases, etc. With all of the enforcement, penalties for traffic violations can quickly become a problem.

Understanding more about the potential penalties you might face as a driver can be beneficial.  Knowing the steps law enforcement may take once you have been pulled over will help preserve your rights and ensure you do not incriminate yourself any further. Specifically in regard to DUI/OVI charges and driving under OVI suspension in Columbus Ohio, you may wonder about how the police are able to request blood or urine test results from hospitals.

Below, we take a closer look at what police need to do to get hospital blood or urine test results to be admissible in OVI cases.

Disclaimer: The following is not legal advice. Please consult with a DUI/OVI defense attorney for legal guidance and representation related to your case.

What Do the Police Need to Do Before Getting Hospital Blood or Urine Test Results in OVI Cases?

Following a driver being pulled over for suspicion of driving while under the influence, law enforcement officers may have you exit the vehicle to perform field sobriety tests if they have reason to expand their investigation i.e. bad driving, late at night, odor of alcohol, admission to drinking, bloodshot glassy eyes, etc.  Ultimately, police may request that a driver take a blood test if there was/is probable cause to arrest. A blood test is typically used to read someone’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level.

Just as every other state sets their BAC limit, Ohio also has a BAC limit of .08 for adult drivers age 21 and over. The legal BAC limit for any driver under the age of 21 is set at .02.

If a driver’s BAC level is found to be at or above .08 following a blood test, police can issue a DUI/OVI charge for testing over the legal limit . Driver’s can refuse to take a blood test, but refusal can result in additional penalties like an administrative license suspension.

In addition to a blood test after a driver being pulled over, there are other ways that law enforcement might seek to get hospital blood or urine test results in OVI cases.

Under Ohio law, law enforcement officers can request a record of a suspect’s blood results that have been withdrawn for medical purposes. Detailed in Section 2317.02(2)(a) of the Ohio Revised Code, a law enforcement officer must submit a written statement to a health care provider to request blood test results. That written statement must state “that an official criminal investigation has begun regarding a specified person or that a criminal action or proceeding has been commenced against a specified person.”

Do the Police Need a Warrant Before Getting Hospital Blood or Urine Test Results in OVI Cases?

With the understanding that law enforcement can submit a written request for blood or urine test results in OVI cases, you may be wondering if they need to obtain a warrant beforehand.

Under Ohio’s implied consent law, law enforcement officers can request that a suspect submit to a blood test. The law itself states that any person “who operates a vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley upon a highway or any public or private property used by the public for vehicular travel or parking” within Ohio, will be deemed “to have given consent to a chemical test.”

When law enforcement submits a written request to a healthcare facility for blood test results, they do not need a search warrant. The above state law essentially means anyone who is driving within Ohio has already consented to giving a blood test, meaning that the police are able to request those test results from the hospital.   Whether or not the test result is admissible in court will depend on the procedure used to withdraw and test the blood sample.  The procedure must comply with the regulations set forth in the Ohio Administrative Code.

There are other situations regarding blood or urine test results in which a search warrant is required. Law enforcement officers may serve a health care provider with a search warrant that requests the actual blood or urine sample itself.

As we discussed above, you can refuse to take a blood alcohol test. While a police officer may impose an administrative license suspension, they will also typically need to acquire a warrant for any kind of blood test after you have revoked your consent.

What Can I Do if I’m Facing Driving Under OVI Suspension in Ohio Charges?

As you can see, DUI/OVI charges can be complicated. Officers are humans after all.  They make mistakes just like everyone else; Especially when it comes to the details and processes surrounding evidence.

If you are facing DUI/OVI charges in Columbus Ohio, consider connecting with a DUI defense attorney. An attorney brings unique experience to the table, having an understanding of state and federal laws as well as decisions in other cases that may be relevant to your’s.

About the Author

The Maher Law Firm, LLC is a law firm based in Columbus, Ohio. It is a leading traffic violation and criminal defense law firm that represents clients in a range of cases including DUI/OVI defense, traffic ticket defense, and criminal defense. Founder and DUI/OVI defense attorney Colin Maher has over 12+ years of experience bringing a skilled approach to each case that he accepts. Having handled well over 2000 cases, Attorney Colin Maher brings vast knowledge and a pursuit of justice for all his clients. Confidential consultations can be had by calling 614-205-2208 or by contacting us online.

Daniel Tan

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