IF you ever see the blue/red lights behind you and were to get pulled over; know this, the officer will be observing your driving behavior at THAT moment for anything unusual: attempting to flee; responding slowly or failing to respond to the stop command; swerving abruptly; stopping suddenly or striking the curb or another object when pulling over. Try to remain calm, because, unfortunately, simply the fact that you are being pulled over will make an innocent person nervous and prone to do something “off”.

Stop and immediately retrieve your driver’s license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration before the officer walks up to your window and asks for those documents. If the officer witnesses you fumbling for these documents (due to your nervousness), he will undoubtedly attribute these actions to intoxication rather than stress. Avoid this possibility by having everything ready at hand. Also, do not take off your safety belt until after you first speak to with the officer.

Understand that the officer’s goal in every DUI-suspect vehicle stop is to collect evidence. He will be using his senses of sight, hearing and smell to collect/create evidence against you.

SIGHT: Bloodshot eyes, soiled clothing, fumbling fingers, alcohol containers, drugs, drug paraphernalia, bruises, bumps and scratches

SOUND:  Slurred speech, inconsistent responses, abusive language, admission of alcohol consumption or intoxication, unusual statements

SMELL: Alcoholic beverages, marijuana, breath sprays, gum, smoke, unusual odors

Always be courteous and cooperative with the officer. Never argue or debate anything with him; you will inevitably lose. Most important: never lie about anything. Don’t deny consuming alcohol if in fact you have had some to drink – this is a crime and destroys your credibility.

You have some options: Tell the truth.  Remain silent – remember what you do NOT say will NOT be held against you. Ask a question in response to the officer’s question if he asks if you have had a drink – “have I done something wrong, Officer?” Asking is not lying or admitting.

You are not required to answer potentially incriminating questions, such as how much you have had to drink or where you are coming from. If you feel the officer’s questions starting to become overbearing or his tone/behavior begins to scare you, politely state “I would like to speak with an attorney before I answer any further questions.” At  that point: remain totally silent to every question the officer asks of you.

If the officer asks you to perform tests – remember, in Ohio, the law does not require you to perform any of these roadside “tests,” nor can there be consequences for declining to perform them. Remember, these acts are entirely voluntary. In fact, the best idea is for you to politely decline the offered “tests” since by the time the officer has asked you to submit to his tests, he, more likely than not, has already determined to arrest you for DUI. He is merely attempting to “create” evidence to use against you at your trial.

The Bottom Line:  Drinking and driving is never smart. It happens.  If you are pulled over and find yourself having to make even ONE decision, ask only one thing, “may I call my attorney?” You will need an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney.  Put my number in your phone: 513-260-2099