If you are pulled over by law enforcement, remember that the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution gives you the right to remain silent and not speak to police. As a criminal defense attorney, I offer you this advice if you have an encounter with police:
- When you are stopped in a car in Ohio, you must show the officer your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance upon request. In addition, your passengers must provide name, date of birth, and address upon request.
- Police may frisk anyone in the car they believe may be armed.
- Your car can be searched without a warrant if the police have reason to believe that criminal activity is likely taking place, you have been involved in a crime, or you have evidence of a crime in your car. This includes containers in your car and the belongings of your passengers. To protect yourself later, you and your passengers should make clear that you do not consent to a search.
- If the stop leads to your arrest, the police may search the area of your vehicle that is within your reach at the time and officers may search your vehicle if they believe it contains evidence related to your arrest
- If you’re given a ticket, you should sign it; otherwise, you can be arrested. You can object later in court.
- If you’re suspected of drunk driving (OVI), the police may require you to take a physical or chemical test. If you refuse, your driver’s license will be suspended immediately. If you take the test and are over the limit, your license will be suspended immediately. You may appeal the license suspension later in court. If you have a prior OVI and refuse a test, you may face increased penalties if convicted.
The Bottom Line: When anyone is pulled over by police, the very best thing to do is be polite and say nothing. Remain silent. Know that anything you say can and most likely will be used against you. If you choose to speak, use your words carefully. Keep your hands where police can see them. Don’t resist, even if you are certain you are innocent. Don’t complain or tell the officer he is wrong. Make NO statements. Tell the officer that you are invoking your right to remain silent and ask to call your criminal defense attorney immediately. I can be reached anytime at 513.260.2099