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OVI Traffic Stops and Checkpoints in St. Clairsville, Ohio

The Police Can Pull You Over

The process of being pulled over by the police requires reasonable suspicion based on observable facts, such as erratic driving or disregarding traffic signals. If legal intervention is proven to be without reasonable cause, an OVI charge can be dismissed with the assistance of a St. Clairsville OVI Lawyer.

OVI Checkpoints in Ohio

In Ohio, sobriety checkpoints, also known as OVI checkpoints, are permitted. The State vs. Bauer case serves as the foundation for the legality of these checkpoints in Ohio. Despite arguments against their constitutionality, courts consistently prioritize removing drunk drivers from the road over concerns of reasonable suspicion.

During these checkpoints, law enforcement stops vehicles to assess drivers for signs of intoxication. To be considered legal, a checkpoint must adhere to four specific criteria:

  • Were there sufficient advanced warnings, including prominent lights during nighttime?
  • Did it adhere to pre-established policies to ensure neutrality and standardized procedures?
  • Was it strategically placed in a secure location, with high visibility for approaching drivers?
  • Were law enforcement vehicles and uniformed officers present at the checkpoint?

Officers operating the checkpoint generally follow a predetermined formula to determine which vehicles to stop, whether it be every vehicle or a specific ratio.

At a checkpoint, officers may request your name and driver’s license, and while you are not legally obligated to respond, they can only extend the stop if there is reasonable suspicion of intoxication.

What Do I Do if the Cops Stop Me?

When stopped by a police officer, prioritize safety by pulling over in a place away from traffic. If possible, choose a parking lot or side street. At night, switch on your dome light so the officer can easily see you. Turn off any audio and keep your hands on the steering wheel.

Legally, you must provide your name, driver’s license, and insurance information to the officer. Remember, you have the right to refuse answering additional questions until your attorney is present. Exercise courtesy and brevity if you choose to respond.

If you feel the interaction is taking too long, politely ask if you are free to leave. However, remain in your vehicle unless instructed otherwise.

If asked to exit the vehicle, calmly comply and exit slowly.

In case there is suspicion of alcohol impairment, the officer may request field sobriety tests or a breath test. While you can refuse, there are consequences, including a driver’s license suspension.

Always remember that you have the right to remain silent and decline field sobriety and chemical tests. The officer may still arrest you based on their perception of intoxication. Refusing to answer questions might limit the evidence against you, making the prosecutor’s job more difficult. Consider seeking legal advice, particularly if you’ve refused OVI testing, by contacting a St. Clairsville OVI lawyer after any arrest.

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