Police in Ohio say that a 54-year-old woman had a blood alcohol concentration of .32% when she was involved in a minor traffic accident on Aug. 26. That is four times the state's .08% legal driving limit. The accident took place near the intersection of Columbia Road and Center Ridge Road in Westlake. The woman was taken into custody at the scene and has been charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
According to a Westlake Police Department report, the woman's vehicle struck the rear of a car as it approached the intersection. The other driver involved told arriving officers that he noticed the woman appeared to be impaired and took her car keys to prevent her from leaving the scene. Officers say that the woman seemed incoherent and did not even realize that she had been involved in a collision until they pointed out the damage on her vehicle and the car she struck.
The woman was placed under arrest after she allegedly failed to complete a standardized field sobriety test. Officers say that they had to intervene several times during the test to prevent the woman from falling down. Initial media reports do not reveal what kind of toxicology test was used to determine the woman's alleged blood alcohol concentration.
Criminal defense attorneys with experience in drunk driving charges may study police reports closely when blood alcohol concentrations are abnormally high. This is because the results of breath and blood tests are not always reliable. Attorneys may seek to have OVI charges reduced or dismissed when the equipment used to conduct breath tests has not been properly maintained, a clear chain of custody cannot be established for blood samples, or their clients suffer from one or more of the many medical conditions that can skew the results of toxicology tests.