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Using your right to remain silent during an OVI/DUI traffic stop

Most everyone knows about their right to remain silent thanks to the prevalence of law enforcement encounters in popular media. Almost everyone has seen a movie or a television show where a character gets arrested and read their Miranda Rights.

However, many people don’t stop to think about how those rights might affect them when they have an interaction with law enforcement. This is particularly true for drivers in Ohio who get pulled over and arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI).

Often called driving under the influence (DUI) in other states, an OVI in Ohio is a common but still serious criminal offense. Far too many drivers forget about their right to remain silent when the reason that they must interact with law enforcement stems from an OVI traffic stop.

You can’t talk your way out of an OVI

Given that in OVI is technically a driving-related infraction, many people mistakenly treat it the same way they would a standard traffic ticket. However, speeding is a civil infraction that only carries a fine, while impaired driving is a criminal offense that can result in misdemeanor or even felony charges.

An officer might decide to give you the benefit of the doubt if you have a compelling reason for speeding or at least an amusing excuse. However, no amount of bluster will likely get an officer to look the other way in an impaired driving situation, especially if the officer has already theoretically substantiated their suspicions by performing a field sobriety test or chemical breath test.

The more you talk, the more you might implicate yourself. As soon as you realize that an officer intends to arrest you, it is likely in your best interest to assert your rights, remain silent and ask for an attorney.

What you say and how you say it can affect your case

Sometimes, a flippant attitude or a speech impediment may help solidify an officer’s suspicions of impaired driving. Both the words that you use and your speech patterns themselves may help an officer build a case against you.

Remaining silent but complying overall with officers while under arrest is often the first step toward protecting your rights as you go through the criminal justice system. Partnering with an experienced defense attorney can also help you mitigate the impact of an OVI arrest on your life.