At Walker Novack Legal Group, LLC, we understand that when a police officer or highway patrol trooper pulls you over, it is easy to feel as if he or she is in control of the situation. While you should remain polite with the officer and not interfere with his or her investigation, this does not mean you need to do everything the officer requests you to do. You do have rights, even when an officer stops you on the side of the road. Whether you exercise these rights is up to you.
Officers will sometimes try to bolster their OVI (or, operating a vehicle under the influence) investigations by asking questions of a driver and hoping the driver admits to drinking alcohol or admits to being impaired. However, there is no law that requires you to answer these questions. Other than providing your license, insurance, and registration upon request, you may refuse to answer any other question from the officer. While remaining silent does not guarantee that you will not be arrested for OVI, it does require the officer to search for other evidence of intoxication and impairment. Not only this, refusing to answer questions can deprive the officer of the ability to hear your speech (slurred speech is an indicator of impairment that officers are trained to listen for and that can lead to an OVI arrest).
Standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) are physical and mental “tests” designed to suggest whether someone is impaired and incapable of driving in a safe manner. These tests include the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg-stand test. You may choose not to perform any of these tests or to stop the testing at any time. You should be aware, however, that refusing to take any of the SFSTs can be considered in making an arrest determination. If you refuse the SFSTs because of a medical condition, informing the officer of your condition may prove useful later. While doing so may not prevent an arrest, it may convince a judge or jury no to consider your refusal to perform SFSTs against you.
The officer may ask you to take a preliminary breath test on the side of the road as part of his or her investigation. Despite what the officer may say, here, too, you may choose to refuse to take this test. If you do refuse to blow, your license will be suspended but you will deprive the officer of evidence as to your breath alcohol concentration. By blowing and providing a sample that is less than .08, you may defuse the officer’s OVI investigation and avoid being arrested. You will not have the ability to consult with an attorney before making a decision, so it is worth considering whether you would blow or not ahead of time.
Walker Novack Legal Group, LLC is committed to ensuring that the rights of Ohio drivers charged with OVI are protected and respected. Where law enforcement does not permit you to exercise these and other rights, our OVI criminal defense legal team may be able to help you realize a more favorable outcome in your case. Talk with Walker Novack Legal Group about your OVI case: set up your free, no-obligation consultation by dialing (614) 423-8276.
Walker Novack Legal Group, LLC
5013 Pine Creek Drive
Westerville, Ohio 43081
P: (614) 423-8276
F: (614) 767-0695