DUI Stop

Navigating a DUI Stop: Your Essential Guide to Smart Choices

Welcome to the crucial information hub that empowers you with knowledge when faced with a DUI stop. Whether you’ve had a couple of drinks or find yourself in a challenging situation with the law, knowing the do’s and don’ts can make all the difference. Our dedicated DUI defense lawyers are here to guide you through this complex process, ensuring your rights are protected every step of the way.

FIRST: Stay Calm and Collected:

The key to handling a DUI stop begins with composure. If you see those flashing lights behind you, take a deep breath, and pull over safely to the side of the road. Keep your hands visible, preferably on the steering wheel, to ease the officer’s concerns.

SECOND: Remain Silent:

You have the right to remain silent.  Use it!  For lack of a better phrase…SHUT UP!  Resist the urge to over-explain. You have the right to remain silent, and anything you say can be used against you. Politely provide your license, registration, and insurance when asked, but avoid volunteering unnecessary information.  Sure, it is socially awkward to not engage in conversation…but…SHUT UP ANYWAYS!  The law is written such that ANYTHING you say can and WILL be used AGAINST you. 

Think of it like this: If I were to walk up to you and say, “Hey!  Let’s have a chat.  BUT, before you say anything, I want you to know that anything you say to me…you see…I am going to take that and use that to hurt you.  I am never going to use anything you say to me to help you; just to hurt you.  … So, anyways…about having that chat…?”  – How would you respond?  I assume (and I sure hope), you would say absolutely nothing. 

Field Sobriety Tests:

Politely decline field sobriety tests. While you may think you can pass, these tests are subjective and can be used against you. Instead, kindly express that you would like to speak to your lawyer before taking any further tests.

Chemical Tests:

Ah…to blow or not to blow?  Like many questions asked of lawyers, the answer to the question “Should I refuse to take a Breathalyzer test?” is that IT DEPENDS.  This may not be the most satisfying answer, but it’s the one that any good, responsible lawyer will tell you. Be very skeptical of anyone that gives a concrete answer to this question without knowing your unique situation!

In Ohio, refusing a breathalyzer test can lead to immediate consequences, such as an immediate license suspension. This question is not one that has a “one-size-fits-all” answer.  My advice to all who ask this question is to thoroughly review and understand Ohio’s Implied Consent Law prior to ever having to be in a position to make that decision.  You must know the ramifications of refusing a chemical test and be able to make that informed decision for yourself. 

Consequences for Refusal

Refusing to take a Breathalyzer or blood alcohol content (BAC) test comes with consequences. That’s because Ohio is an “implied consent” state. Ohio law states:

“Any person who operates a vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley upon a highway or any public or private property used by the public for vehicular travel or parking within this state or who is in physical control of a vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley shall be deemed to have given consent to a chemical test or tests of the person’s whole blood, blood serum or plasma, breath, or urine to determine the alcohol, drug of abuse, controlled substance, metabolite of a controlled substance, or combination content of the person’s whole blood, blood serum or plasma, breath, or urine if arrested for a violation of division…” (Emphasis ours)

What’d that mean!? – by getting a driver’s license in Ohio and driving down the road, you’ve already agreed to, or impliedly consented to, submit to a Breathalyzer, or other blood alcohol test. Saying “no” is a crime punishable by law.

There can be serious penalties for refusing to take a Breathalyzer or blood test:

  • 1st refusal: Automatic one-year license suspension
  • 2nd refusal: Automatic two-year license suspension
  • 3rd refusal: Automatic three-year license suspension
  • License re-instatement fee of several hundred dollars at the end of suspension

If you have any previous OVI convictions on your record and refuse a Breathalyzer, the court will likely increase the length of time of your suspension.

These penalties can apply even if you are not convicted of an OVI. This is a very important note: many drivers think that, by refusing to take the Breathalyzer, they are avoiding all penalties by avoiding an OVI conviction; however, they may still end up with penalties from the refusal.

If you do refuse a BAC test, know that all is not lost! You are allowed to appeal an automatic license suspension for a number of reasons. An OVI attorney can help you fight the penalties of Breathalyzer refusal.                           

Sooooo, Do I Refuse?

With all that said, why would you want to refuse to take a chemical test? One reason: if you take the test and your results show that your BAC is more than 0.17, the penalties and charges you face will be more severe. Another is that it may be more difficult for prosecutors to build a case against you if you refuse to take all field sobriety and chemical tests.

It is up to you to decide whether or not submitting to a BAC test is in your best interests.

If you are pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving, the best thing you can do is to calmly cooperate while asserting your rights. Besides giving the officer your identifying information, you are not required to answer such questions as, “Have you been drinking tonight?”, “Where are you going?”, or “Where are you coming from?”

These types of questions are designed to get you to incriminate yourself. The law enforcement officer is looking out for answers like, “Yes, I had a few beers earlier” or “I just came from the bar up the road.”

Instead of answering, you may politely tell the officer that you will not answer any more questions without the advice of an attorney. Remember that, while the officer may seem to be just chatting with you, he or she is actually looking for evidence to use against you. You also do not have to submit to field sobriety tests (such as the walk-the-line or pen tests). It is not a crime to refuse to take them, unlike refusing a Breathalyzer.

You won’t face any additional penalties for saying “no” to field sobriety tests!

Invoke Your Right to an Attorney:

If you are arrested, remember your right to legal representation. Politely inform the officer that you would like to speak to an attorney before answering any questions. This crucial step can protect your interests and ensure that your rights are respected.

Document the Encounter:

If possible, discreetly document the stop. Use your phone to take photos or videos, especially if you feel your rights are being violated. However, always prioritize your safety and compliance over recording.

Post-Stop Actions:

After the stop, refrain from discussing the incident on social media. Anything you post can be used against you in court. Keep the details to yourself and share them only with your attorney.

The moment you are able, contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer. Time is of the essence, and having a legal professional by your side can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

Our Commitment to You:

At Boerst Law, we understand the stress and uncertainty that follows a DUI stop. Our dedicated team of defense lawyers is here to provide support, guidance, and unwavering advocacy. Your rights matter, and we are committed to ensuring they are protected.

Remember, in challenging times, informed decisions are your greatest asset. Trust Boerst Law to navigate the legal complexities while you focus on moving forward.

Schedule your consultation today and let us stand with you through every step of the process.

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