Category: Illegal Police Stops

Don’t Volunteer Evidence – You Have Rights! Use Them!

00Breath Testing, Illegal Police StopsTags: , , , , , , , , ,

tipp city oviA typical DUI/OVI stop starts with a probable cause traffic stop.  Depending on the time of day, the location or the way you are driving, the officer may begin the encounter believing that you are possibly “19” (police shorthand for a possible R.C. 4511.19 (DUI) violation). Probable cause for the stop can be anything from severe weaving or crashing all the way down to something as de minimus as a license plate light out.  The officer’s true purpose in pulling you over cannot be questioned if there is even a minor violation of law.

The officer will observe the way you pull over and will approach the vehicle with caution. Always keep your hands where the officer can see them and avoid furtive movements.  When the officer asks “do you know why I pulled you over?” what do you say? When the officer asks if you have been drinking, what do you say? If the officer asks you if you are willing to take some roadside tests, what do you say? Always begin every police encounter by asserting your rights, “I DO NOT WANT TO ANSWER QUESTIONS AND I WANT TO SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY.”

When you are pulled over for a traffic infraction the police officer has no evidence that you may be driving under the influence. Once you are stopped, the officer begins gathering evidence against you for OVI/DUI.  If you do not give him the evidence I can win a charge of DUI/OVI. And there is only one way for the officer to obtain evidence: You must give it to him! Examples are letting the officer engage you in conversation. By doing this he hears your speech hears your thought processes and begins to build his case. He smells your breath. During the process he also views your eyes to see if they are red, bloodshot, or watery.  The officer will also ask you for your license, insurance and registration. He is doing this to see if you fumble through your belongings, thereby demonstrating lack of dexterity.  Have these papers ready at hand anytime you are in the car. Have them waiting for the officer on the dash.

At this point, the officer must determine if he has enough evidence to remove you from the vehicle.  If he believes he does, he will ask you to take standardized field sobriety tests. There is no legal obligation or requirement to perform these tests. Do not take Field Sobriety Tests! Finally, do not be a knucklehead to the officer. Be polite and courteous even if you do not receive the same treatment as most encounters are recorded. Do not argue or try to justify your conduct as all of this will be used against you. Once the officer decides to arrest you there is nothing you can do to avoid the arrest.  Let me handle that for you later!

 

To blow or not to blow, that is the question. Unfortunately, the answer is “maybe” and involves a very complicated investigation of the facts of your case and your personal history. You should NEVER refuse the test without understanding how a refusal would affect YOU. No attorney can know all of the circumstances of your arrest and your personal history, always ask to speak to an attorney when making this decision.

Can you answer “TRUE” to ALL of the following questions? If so, you can politely DECLINE any police test(s) of your blood, breath, or urine with minimum impact. Be prepared and know your rights.

  • I am an Ohio license holder, 21 years or older; AND
  • I was not involved in an accident involving possible death or to serious injury to ANYBODY, even members of my family, pedestrians or passengers; AND
  • I do not have a commercial driver’s license (CDL); AND
  • No matter where I currently have a license to drive, I have had no prior drunk driving convictions or deferred pleas for DUI in ANY state within 6 years (from the date of conviction until now).
  • Refusing a chemical test can result in harsh penalties which includes a one-year license suspension, but your attorney can fight to get this reduced. In some courts your refusal may be held strictly against you and in others you may be able to get a reduced suspension despite your refusal. In State v. Hill, 2009-Ohio-2468, the Appellate Court upheld the right of a trial court to enhance a penalty based on a refusal to take the chemical test. In most circumstances, a refusal to take a chemical test will result in a longer hard-time suspension (30 days rather than 15 days without any driving privileges). [see the Automatic License Suspension section of this blog]. You should also engage in an honest assessment of your alcohol consumption. If you risk testing over Ohio’s “super-OVI” threshold (over a .17% BAC) you may do harm by taking the test. Take these factors into account when making your decision to blow or not to blow.

Any criminal defense attorney would rather have less evidence against you rather than more, but giving blanket advice to refuse the chemical test is a mistake. Be prepared to make the best decision for you. You can also plan ahead by storing my contact information in your smart phone: (937)776-2671.

Why Wasn’t I Mirandized?

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You were not Mirandized because the officer did not take

you into custody… or did he?

standardized field sobriety testWhen an officer comes to your door following a traffic stop anything the officer sees, smells or hears is fair game. It is common that the officer will ask you questions such as, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” or “Have you had anything to drink tonight?”  You do not have to answer these questions. Simply remain silent.  By being silent (the officer will call it non-compliant) you have removed the possibility of damaging statements and the universal “slurred speech” from the probable cause determination. The officer must make a difficult decision: place you under arrest or let you go.

The officer is required to give you Miranda warnings only once you are not free to go, i.e. you are in custody, i.e. you have been placed under arrest.  Courts do not consider the initial contact, when you are in your car, to be a custody situation.  Thus, anything you say at this point would be admissible in court.  The manner in which you speak (slurred, slow, mush-mouthed) will also be admissible.  And here is the kicker…

If you invoke your Miranda rights and say nothing, the jury will never find out.  Because it is such an important right, invoking your right to remain silent will not be used against you in a trial.  Likewise, a jury will never find out that you asked to speak to an attorney.  A famous comedian once said that understanding your right to remain silent and invoking your right to remain silent are very different skills. To quote Ron White, “I had the right to remain silent, but not the ability.”  Trust me, no one has talked their way out of a DUI if the officer had an evidence-based belief that they were intoxicated.

Once you are in custody, you are facing harsher penalties if you do not agree to take a chemical test. This blog post does not apply to the decision to take the test, but to the decision to answer questions. This blog post also does not address the issue of whether or not you must identify yourself to the officer (spoiler: you must!). If you are unsure about your rights, ask to speak to an attorney.  Better yet, call my 24 hour number at (937) 776-2671.

Dayton OVI attorney

Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over In Full Effect!

00Illegal Police Stops, Ohio Traffic LawTags: , , , , , , ,

The annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, MADD and local law enforcement agencies, is in full effect. The OVI (drunk driving) crackdown will last from now until January 1st. Below is the new ad for 2015.

xenia ovi

Xenia OVI Arrests – Now With Body Cameras

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If you have a Xenia OVI case, your attorney can now ask for body camera footage of your arrest. All Xenia police officers are armed with body cameras according to information released by the city on Monday. The officers are using Digital Ally’s First Vu HD personal body cameras which were partially funded with a grant.

For Xenia OVI cases, this means that we will get to see the standardized field sobriety tests as the officer does. It may provide a defense to an officer’s accusation that a defendant was slurring their words or fumbling for information.

At DaytonDUI.com we are prepared to use the body camera evidence on behalf of our clients to fight your Xenia OVI case. Please give us a call. 

Arrested for OVI? Should You Blow?

00Breath Testing, Illegal Police StopsTags: , , , , , , , , ,

should i blowWhen you are stopped on suspicion of DUI the question becomes – “Should I Blow?” Unfortunately, the answer is “maybe” and involves a very complicated investigation of the facts of your case and your personal history. You should NEVER refuse the test without understanding how a refusal would affect YOU. No attorney can know all of the circumstances of your arrest and your personal history, always ask to speak to an attorney when making this decision.

Can you answer “TRUE” to ALL of the following questions? If so, you can politely DECLINE any police test(s) of your blood, breath, or urine with minimum impact. Be prepared and know your rights.

  • I am an Ohio license holder, 21 years or older; AND
  • I was not involved in an accident involving possible death or to serious injury to ANYBODY, even members of my family, pedestrians or passengers; AND
  • I do not have a commercial driver’s license (CDL); AND
  • No matter where I currently have a license to drive, I have hadno prior drunk driving convictionsor deferred pleas for DUI in ANY state within 6 years (from the date of conviction until now).

Refusing a chemical test can result in harsh penalties which includes a one-year license suspension and a longer period of time before you can get driving privileges.   Your attorney can fight to get this reduced. In some courts your refusal may be held strictly against you and in others you may be able to get a reduced suspension despite your refusal. In State v. Hill, 2009-Ohio-2468, the Appellate Court upheld the right of a trial court to enhance a penalty based on a refusal to take the chemical test. In most circumstances, a refusal to take a chemical test will result in a longer hard-time suspension (30 days rather than 15 days without any driving privileges). [see the Automatic License Suspension section of this blog]. You should also engage in an honest assessment of your alcohol consumption. If you risk testing over Ohio’s “super-OVI” threshold (over a .17% BAC) you may do harm by taking the test. Take these factors into account when making your decision to blow or not to blow.

Should I blow, Now you know! Any criminal defense attorney would rather have less evidence against you rather than more, but giving blanket advice to refuse the chemical test is a mistake. Be prepared to make the best decision for you. You can also plan ahead by storing my contact information in your smart phone: (937)776-2671.