IF PULLED OVER - KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

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If you are stopped in Ohio for suspected OVI/DUI, it is important that you know your rights.  Everything you do from that moment forward will shape the ultimate outcome of your case.  It is important to remember that you have a right to an attorney, a right to remain silent, and a right to refuse all Standard Field Sobriety Tests and breath, blood or urine tests that could incriminate you. 

From the moment you are stopped for suspected OVI/DUI, the police are watching your every move for evidence of intoxication. 

 

DON'T GIVE THEM ANYTHING THAT COULD INCRIMINATE YOU. 

Police often look for clues of impairment such as (1) Odor of alcohol or marijuana, (2) Slurred speech, (3) Bloodshot eyes, (4) Admitting to drinking alcohol or consuming drugs, (5) Alcohol containers, drugs or drug paraphernalia, (6) Difficulty exiting the vehicle, (7) Swaying, or other balance problems (8) Providing incorrect information or changing answers, (9) Unusual statements, or (10) Anything else that could indicate intoxication. 

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE ALL FIELD SOBRIETY TESTING & ALL BREATH, BLOOD OR URINE TESTING

REFUSAL TO SUBMIT TO A BREATH, BLOOD OR URINE TEST

In Ohio, refusing to submit to a blood alcohol test (BAC) will result in the automatic suspension of your driver's license.  Refusing a BAC also doubles the time you must wait before receiving limited driving privileges, bringing a first-time offender's suspension without privileges from 15 days to 30 days.  For subsequent offenders, refusing a BAC can result in longer suspensions without privileges and even mandatory jail time.  

A refusal charge only relates to the official blood alcohol test after you are arrested and brought to the police station.  There is no penalty or suspension for refusing a roadside Portable Breath Test (PBT).

While the penalties and effects of a refusal will have certain upfront costs, such as a longer time period without being eligible for driving privileges, the long-term benefits of not providing the police and the prosecution with evidence needed to convict you could be invaluable to your case. 

REFUSAL TO SUBMIT TO STANDARD FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS (SFSTs)

While people often talk about refusing a breath test, many do not realize that you can also refuse the Standard Field Sobriety Tests offered by the police.  In fact, no additional penalties or suspensions can be imposed for refusing these tests, and by failing to provide the police with evidence of intoxication, you are potentially helping your case down the road. 

 

These tests include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, the Walk and Turn Test, and the One-Leg Stand Test.

Not only are Standard Field Sobriety Tests difficult to perform, but they are referred to by police as "divided attention tests" and are specifically designed for you to fail

Should you perform any of these tests, the police must administer them in substantial compliance with the standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  If the police fail to substantially comply with the administration of these tests, they may be subject to suppression and unusable against you.

 

Additionally, Standard Field Sobriety tests are NOT intended for those over 65 years of age, those more than 50 pounds overweight, or those who have middle ear, leg, or back problems.

THE STANDARD FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS (SFSTs)

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) - Police shine a light in your eyes and ask you to follow a moving object (usually a pen or their finger) without moving your head.  They check to see if your eyes have "nystagmus," which is where your eyes lag and jerk when attempting to follow an object back and forth.  Nystagmus is an indicator of alcohol consumption, along with certain other types of drugs.  

    • Clues of Impairment

      • As eye moves from side to side, does it jerk noticeably?

      • When eye moves as far to the side as possible and is kept in that position for 4 seconds, does it jerk noticeably?

      • As the eye moves toward the side, does it start to jerk prior to a 45 degree angle?

  • Walk and Turn Test - Police provide you with instructions to walk a straight line, heel-to-toe, turn around, and walk back. 

    • Clues of Impairment​

      • Cannot keep balance while listening to instructions;

      • Starts too soon;

      • Stops while walking;

      • Does not touch heel-to-toe;

      • Steps off the line;

      • Uses arms to balance;

      • Improper turn;

      • Incorrect number of steps.

  • One-Leg Stand Test - Police provide you with instructions to stand on one leg and keep foot approximately 6 inches off the ground while counting to 30. 

    • Clues of Impairment​

      • Sways while balancing;

      • Uses arms to balance;

      • Hopping;

      • Puts foot down. 

Tekulve Law

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785 Ohio Pike, Cincinnati, Ohio 45245

Tel: (513) 752-0001 / Fax: (513) 752-0289

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