As you approach a DUI / OVI checkpoint in Ohio, most drivers don’t know what to expect thus they are nervous and leery. This can make any person act differently, feel annoyed and demonstrate body language that shows fear, and false guilt giving the officer reasonable suspicion to question you then ultimately leading to an arrest. Know your rights, when dealing with law enforcement and always do your very best to remain calm. These checkpoints are almost always set up in areas where there has been a high rate of arrests of DUI/OVI in the past. They are put there to catch drunk drivers, but often other drivers are detained because they are not knowledgeable on their Constitutional Rights.
When you roll down your window to speak with the officer, your rights will probably not be read. Know that you are protected from unlawful searches and seizures and you have the right to not incriminate yourself. When asked to show your license, registration and insurance, do so, politely. This is the only thing you MUST do. There are no other questions that should or MUST be answered, as innocent as they seem. For example if you are asked where you have been or where you are going – don’t answer. Many clients that I have seen, have incriminated themselves simply by answering that seemingly innocuous question. Simply say you are calling your criminal defense attorney.
Most of the time, the officer will let you go. But, occasionally, drivers will be asked to pull up to a second spot to be asked more questions. This is when you MUST remain calm and remember you do NOT have to answer anything. You are being questioned because the officer clearly has reasonable suspicion to further investigate. You can’t be arrested for refusing to answer their questions if it has nothing to do with your license, registration or insurance. If you are asked to take a field sobriety test, or any test at all, decline it. You are not required to take any testing in Ohio. Again, the only thing you should say at this point is that you are calling your criminal defense attorney.
The Bottom Line: Police officers are not infallible. In fact, case records are filled with countless examples of officers who cut corners, make rash decisions, and commit oversights which violate citizen rights.These are your rights; know them, and keep my number in your phone. Call me, I can help you. 513-260-2099
- You have the right to remain silent and to not answer any of the officer’s questions without your attorney present. Do not admit to drinking, do not admit to drug use, do not admit you have a suspended license, do not admit to not having insurance. Just remain silent and instruct the officer that you wish to have an attorney present during any and all questioning.
- You have the right to not perform any field sobriety tests. If asked to perform field sobriety tests, politely decline and ask to speak with your attorney immediately. These tests are very easy to fail. Stay away from them.
- You have the right to deny search of your person and your vehicle. Simply ask that the vehicle be locked and left at the scene. Without your consent, police officers need probable cause and warrant.