Under criminal law in Ohio, operating a vehicle impaired (OVI) can apply to any individual who is suspected of being impaired while operating a car, bicycle, horse-drawn carriage, or any other vehicle-motorized or otherwise. If you have been pulled over on suspicion of OVI near Columbus, it’s essential that you keep calm and exercise your legal rights. Simple mistakes can increase the likelihood that you’ll end up facing an OVI charge . If you are arrested, remember to call a DUI attorney right away.
As soon as you see flashing lights or hear a siren, take your foot off the gas pedal and pull over in a safe area. Remember to use your turn signal to let the police officer know that you are complying. Turn off your engine, but leave your lights on if it’s dark. Avoid moving around in your seat, and never reach for your license and registration until requested to do so. These actions might make the officer think that you are trying to hide contraband.
Avoid Volunteering Information
It’s inevitable that the police officer will ask you questions upon approaching your car window. Answer certain questions, such as those that ask you for your full name and address. However, do not volunteer information that could incriminate you. Many people assume that it’s all right to say that they had a glass of wine with dinner. But in fact, this only gives the officer probable cause to investigate the situation further. If you admit to drinking, the officer is then allowed to perform the field sobriety tests. Don’t argue with the police officer and always remain polite.
Refuse Roadside Tests
Another area where OVI suspects commonly make mistakes is when they are asked to take roadside sobriety tests. It’s often thought that these tests are mandatory, when in fact, they are not. These roadside tests include walking a straight line, balancing on one foot, and following the officer’s finger with your eyes. You are not required to take these tests; however, if the officer asks you to get out of your vehicle, you must comply.
BAC Testing Information
Ohio is an implied consent state, which means that you are presumed to have given your consent to BAC chemical testing. If you refuse, you can face penalties such as the suspension of your license for up to one year. However, your DUI attorney may be able to modify this license suspension and get you driving privileges for work and other necessary activities. If you do agree to the breathalyzer and your BAC is above the legal limit of .08, you face an additional charge of OVI per se. There are also more severe penalties for a “high test.” In summary, without a BAC test, you can be charged with OVI Impaired; with a BAC test, you can be charged with OVI Impaired and OVI per se. Be sure to weigh these options when considering whether to voluntarily take a breathalyzer test.