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THE MANY MYTHS OF A DUI TRAFFIC STOP

  1. When the officer approaches your car and asks you for your identification, i.e., you must produce it or you will be guilty of obstructing official business. FALSE.
    Under Ohio law, the mere refusal by an individual to produce a driver's license at the request of a police officer, or to answer questions, does not amount to obstructing official business. An individual must commit an affirmative act, i.e., turning up the stereo so loud that the officer can't hear anything other than the music, in order to commit such an offense.

  2. When a police officer requests you to perform field sobriety tests, you must comply. FALSE.
    Again, as in the answer to No. 1, there is no obligation of a motorist to step outside of his vehicle and give the officer evidence to convict him. Refusing to perform field sobriety tests is not obstruction of official business. Rather, it may be one of the smartest things to do, especially if you feel you may have had one too many at the local bar.

  3. If I tell the officer I only had one or two beers, he is more likely to believe me and let me go than if I tell him I had 6 or 7. FALSE.
    Police officers have heard "I only had two drinks" or "I had one beer" so many times that they assume you are probably lying to them. If you are going to lie to the officer, why would you tell him that you had anything to drink? Moreover, the officer may think you had two 24 oz drafts just one hour ago, and therefore you are probably over the limit. The more information you give him, the more potential evidence the State has to use against you at trial. So, to avoid lying to the officer, you are probably better off saying nothing for the reasons stated above.

  4. If I do well on the field sobriety tests, he will let me go. FALSE.
    First, your definition of well and the officer's definition are probably not one and the same. You are at a clear disadvantage. You don't know how well you will do on the tests even if you feel you are fine. In my experience, I have yet to see a situation where my client did great on field sobriety tests and the officer let him go. The officer will inevitably tell you that you didn't do well. You will be arrested. So, should you do the field sobriety tests???

  5. If he arrests me, I am better off testing because if I don't, I will lose mylicense for a year. PARTIALLY TRUE BUT MISLEADING.*
    You will lose your license for 1 year if you don't blow. But you may also seal your fate and be convicted of OVI by giving the State convincing evidence of your intoxication. Further, you may win an ALS appeal of the suspension of your license if the officer didn't have reasonable grounds to believe your were operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or if he failed to properly advise you of the consequences of testing or refusing to test. You may also obtain driving privileges even though your license is suspended for a year.
    *On a first offense in six years, it is 1 year. If it is a second refusal in 6 yrs, then it is 2 years.

  6. If I'm operating my ATV on my private property and I'm intoxicated, I can't be convicted of OVI. FALSE.
    Under Ohio law, you can be convicted anywhere in Ohio, on public or private property, for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

  7. If I'm riding my bicycle under the influence of alcohol, I can't be charged with OVI. FALSE.
    Unfortunately, bicycle is still included in the definition of "vehicle" in the Ohio Revised Code. However, you cannot be convicted of OVI for riding a horse while under the influence of alcohol. Other types of vehicles that you can be convicted for OVI: snowmobiles, farm tractors, golf carts.