DUI/OVI Tips, Misconceptions and Mistakes
Can I be charged even though I am not driving?
There is some confusion over what “operating a vehicle” exactly means. If you have one too many drinks and think it is safer to sleep in your car than try to drive home, it is ok to sleep in the back seat but put the keys in the front. This way you cannot attain physical control of the car. If you are in the front seat with the keys in your pocket and the car isn’t even on, this is still seen as being able to attain physical control and could get you into trouble. This also includes if the police think you drove the vehicle. For example, if you are on a back road or stop at a rest stop on the highway, the police can say that you operated the vehicle to get there and therefore drove while under the influence.
If you have been charged with a DUI/OVI, your life is changed forever.
Most people have never been arrested before, been handcuffed, and put in the back of a police car. This can all be very scary for those people. Just because you have been arrested for a DUI/OVI, does not mean that all hope is lost. There are several defenses and options available to reduce the punishments or have the case dropped. Improper handling of evidence, incorrectly filling out paperwork, and the lack of probable cause can all lead to a case being dropped.
Do I have to perform the field sobriety test?
No. You do not have to perform the field sobriety test when asked. Chances are that you will not pass if you do take them. It will only give law enforcement ammuniation to use against you after you have been charged. Many people think they would pass when in fact they do not. These tests are not as easy as your buddy in the passenger seat may suggest. There is no penalty for refusing to take the test. In addition to being able to refuse the field sobriety test, it cannot be used as probable cause to arrest you for an OVI.