Being pulled over for any reason can be a stressful experience. Whether or not you have anything to hide, a routine stop can quickly go south if the law enforcement officer suspects that you have committed or are currently committing a crime. In this situation, it is extremely important that you are aware of your rights. Sometimes, drivers are not treated fairly or legally by law enforcement, making it crucial for you to be aware of what legal protections are available to you.
Should You Speak to Police During an Ohio Traffic Stop?
People have a constitutional right not to incriminate themselves thanks to the Fifth Amendment. As such, drivers have a right to refuse to answer questions that aim to obtain evidence that can be used against them. The following are examples of common questions an officer might ask during a traffic stop:
- Do you know how fast you were going?
- Where are you coming from?
- Where are you going?
- Have you been drinking tonight?
You don’t have a legal obligation to answer these questions; the only duty you have is to identify yourself when the officer requests to see your drivers’ license. Beyond that, the officer cannot arrest you for exercising your right to remain silent. Be polite, yet firm when informing the officer that you will not answer questions until you have contacted your attorney. Remember that you should never lie to an officer – simply exercise your right not to say anything. Be as cooperative as possible while maintaining your ground, and avoid giving the officer any attitude, as this will only make things worse for you.
What if the Officer Suspects Me of DUI?
If a police officer has pulled you over on suspicion of DUI, they may also ask you to submit to a breath test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Because Ohio is an implied consent state, if you are lawfully arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, then the driver is assumed to automatically consent to taking a chemical test of the blood, breath, or urine. While you may refuse these tests, you cannot do so without penalty. For a first offense, a driver will face a one-year suspension of their driver’s license. A second offense is punished by a two-year suspension, while a third offense within six years is punished by a three-year suspension.
If you have been accused of a crime in connection with a traffic stop, such as possession of illegal drugs, driving under the influence of alcohol, or possession of an illegal weapon, get in touch with a Dayton DUI attorney at L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC. Led by Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist Patrick Mulligan, we have handled countless criminal cases that began with a traffic stop and have achieved numerous successes on behalf of our clients. We encourage you to schedule a case evaluation with a member of our team. Call us at (937) 685-7006 for a free case evaluation.