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What You Need To Know About OVI/DUI's Before St. Patrick's Day

The most commonly asked question of an OVI/DUI defense attorney is "What happens during an OVI/DUI stop and what should I do if I get pulled over? Although there is no definitive answer to this question, the police generally follow a common procedure which can be handled by keeping in mind several pieces of advice.

An OV/DUI charge usually stems from a traffic stop of an individual during which the law enforcment officer belives the driver to be intoxicated. There are a number of reasons why an officer may choose to stop a motorist, the most common of which is the officer's observation of erratic driving such as swerving or speeding.

Generally, an officer will approach the vehicle and being communicating with the driver, watching for indicators of of intoxication, e.g. odor of alcohol, red or glassy eyes, or slurred speech. If the officer determines that the driver exhibits sufficient characteristics of intoxciation, he or she will request that the motorist submit to field sobriety testing.

Field Sobriety Tests

There are three standardized field sobriety tests utilized by law enforcement: the one leg stand, the horizontal gaze nystagmus, and the walk and turn test. During the one leg stand test, the officer will instruct the ddriver to stand with heels together, arms at the side, then raise one leg six inches off the ground while counting to thirty. The officer observes for raising of the arms, swaying, hopping, and putting the foot down.

During the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the officer positions an object such as a pen approximately 12 inches from the subject's face and move it from side to side while watching the subject's eyes jerking or trembling.

During the walk and turn test, the officer instructs the motorist to take nine heel-to-toe steps along a line and takes nine heel-to-toe steps back. The officer watches for imbalance, inablity to follow instructions, uneven spacing between heel and toe, and stepping off the line.

Field sobriety test result are generally recorded by video cameras in law enforcement vehicles and those recordings are usually admissible as evidence in court proceedings to prove a driver was intoxicated.

Probable Cause

Based upon the observations made by the officer up to this point, he or she may determine there is "probable cause" to arrest the individual for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. "Probable cause" means that the officer had reasonable suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong to justify a prudent and cautious person to believe that certain facts are probably true.

At this point, the officer will take the individual to the police station and may ask questions regarding the circumstances surrounding the incident. Once under arrest, the driver has the right to remain silent. The driver should respectfully inform the officer that they do not want to answer any questions until they consult with their attorney.

Alcohol Testing

Most of the time, the driver will be asked to provide a breath or blood sample to determine his or her blood alcohol content ("BAC"). Under Ohio law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC over 0.08. A refusal to submit to chemical testing results in a one-year automatic adminstrative license suspension.

A person should consider the following factors before submitting to chemical testing:

A test result that shows the individual is over the legal limit will result in minimum license suspension of 90 days and the result may later be used as evidence in any court proceedings.

A test result that shows the individual is under the legal limit will not result in license suspension, but the driver may still be charged with OVI/DUI.

Certain persons are not permitted to refuse to submit to testing, including those that have been previously convicted of OVI/DUI within 20 years.

The experienced attorneys of DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder have extensive experience defending against OVI/DUI charges. If you have been charged with OVI/DUI in Ohio, a knowledgeable criminal Attorney from the firm may be able to get your case dismissed. For legal advice or information, contact, the attorneys at DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder today.

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