OVI Traffic Stops and Checkpoints in Youngstown, Ohio
The Police Can Pull You Over
The cops can’t just randomly pull you over. There are standards they must use to determine who and when they stop people. The biggest of these is reasonable suspicion. The officer or trooper must base their decision on facts that can be seen, such as a driver swerving or failing to stop at a traffic light or stop sign.
If your Youngstown OVI Lawyer can prove that you were stopped illegally (without reasonable cause), your OVI charges will be dropped.
OVI Checkpoints in Ohio
In Ohio, OVI checkpoints are often referred to as sobriety checkpoints or roadblocks. Though not legal in all fifty states, in Ohio, they are. A court case called State vs. Bauer is the basis for Ohio’s OVI checkpoints.
Though one argument against these checkpoints is that it violates the rule of reasonable suspicion, courts have repeatedly decided that the need to keep drunk drivers off the road is more important than that rule.
During one of these checkpoints, cops pull over vehicles to check the drivers for intoxication. There are four tests a checkpoint must meet to be considered legal:
- Did it have enough advanced warning, including lights at night?
- Did it use policies that were established in advance to maintain neutrality and standard procedures?
- Was it set up in a safe location, and was it visible to approaching drivers?
- Were there police cars and uniformed officers at the checkpoint?
The officers running the checkpoint should have a formula they are using to decide what vehicles to stop, be it every one, or every third, fourth, or fifth one.
Officers can ask for your name and driver’s license. They can ask you questions, though you are not legally required to respond. Beyond that, the cop can only keep you longer if he thinks there is reasonable suspicion that you’re intoxicated.
What Do I Do if the Cops Stop Me?
Always stop, and do so somewhere where you and the cop will be safe from other traffic. If you can, turn into a parking lot or side street. Otherwise, pull off as far onto the shoulder of the road as you can. At night, turn your dome light on so the police officer can see you as he comes up to your car. Turn off your radio or other audio and hold the steering wheel.
You are legally required to give the officer your name, insurance information/card, and your driver’s license.
Remember that you do not have to answer any other questions the cop might ask you. You can if you wish, in which case you should be polite and succinct. You always have the option to tell the officer that you won’t reply unless your attorney is with you.
If you think he’s keeping you too long, you can ask if you can leave, but if the cop says no, don’t try to drive off. Always remain in the car unless the cop asks you to step out.
If you are requested to exit your vehicle, you have to comply. Remain calm and get out slowly.
If the cop thinks you might be intoxicated, he might ask you to perform field sobriety tests or to submit to a breath test. You can refuse if you wish, but there are penalties for doing so. One of these is the suspension of your driver’s license.
You always have the right to remain silent, and you can refuse to perform field sobriety and chemical tests. You may still be arrested if the police officer thinks you’re intoxicated or impaired. Refusing to answer questions may give the prosecutor less evidence to use against you, which will make his job more difficult. After any arrest, but especially if you have refused testing for an OVI, give a Youngstown OVI lawyer a call.
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