How Long Do the Police Have to Collect a Sample for Alcohol Testing?

When a person has been arrested for DUI there are two important time requirements that the police must adhere to in order to take a sample of the person’s blood, breath, or urine for alcohol testing or drug testing.

The first time limitation relates to how long the officer has after the offense was committed to ask the person to submit to a test of their blood, breath, or urine. Under Ohio’s implied consent law, an officer must make the request within two hours of the offense being committed. Some people mistakenly believe that the two hour period begins at the time of arrest, but it is actually within two hours of the offense being committed.

The second time limitation relates to how long the officer has after the offense was committed to collect the blood, breath, or urine sample for testing. Formerly, officer’s had two hours in which to collect the sample. However, the Ohio legislature changed the time period to three hours. This change was obviously intended to help secure convictions for DUI because it gives officers additional time to take a person to a hospital for a blood draw or to take a person to another facility that has a working breath test machine.

The three hour time limit is mandatory. If a blood, breath, or urine sample was not collected within that three hour period, the test result cannot be used in a prosecution for having a prohibited, or per se, amount of alcohol. However, the test result may still be admissible in a prosecution for simple DUI if the prosecutor has a testifying expert witness.

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