Ohio DUI Checkpoint Law
Many clients have had the displeasure of driving through a DUI checkpoint and ending up with a DUI charge.
This page is to give you some guidance on what happens at a DUI checkpoint and, if you’re fortunate enough to be reading this before you get to a checkpoint, this guide will give you some options to consider.
What Happens at a DUI Checkpoint in Cleveland?
No attorney can advise you to break the law or violate administrative rules, but you need to be advised on what will happen to you depending on the choices you make at a sobriety checkpoint.
First, the police use field sobriety tests to determine if (1) you are intoxicated, and (2) can they force you to take a breath/blood/urine test.
Many of our clients take the field sobriety test, realize they are under the influence, and then refuse the breath test not knowing that they have still probably given the prosecutor enough evidence to convict them.
Can You Refuse a DUI Checkpoint in Ohio?
If you refuse a field sobriety test, the police are likely going to charge you with a refusal; however, the prosecutor will also have a hard time proving you were operating a vehicle under the influence.
Why? The field sobriety test provides proof you are intoxicated; the breath test proves your blood level is over a certain limit.
If you are convicted of a first-time DUI, you can have your license suspended for 6 months up to 3 years. The police are going to make a big deal about the importance of taking a breathalyzer test.
The police often tell people that if they take the breath test, and they are over the legal limit, they will only lose their license for 90 days, but if they refuse the test, they will lose their license for a year.
What law enforcement fails to mention is that you could lose your license for three years if you are convicted of a DUI from taking a breath test.
If you prevail on your DUI / OVI case, there is a very good chance that the one-year suspension goes away. This is why information is powerful.
You should make your decisions based on all the facts, and not rely on what the police tell you.
What to Do at a DUI / OVI Checkpoint in Cleveland
Clients who were arrested after going through a DUI checkpoint often ask what they should have done while going through a checkpoint.
Most people are not aware that they can avoid the checkpoints altogether. In addition, people don’t know that they can refuse field sobriety tests as well as refuse to take a breath test.
Three Questions to Ask About Your DUI Checkpoint
- Was the checkpoint properly advertised? Were there proper signs? DUI checkpoints are heavily regulated. They are essentially the government coming in, without probable cause, and stopping citizens and searching them. Because of this, most courts will scrutinize sobriety checkpoint procedures when a DUI attorney challenges the results and the arrest of their client.
- Can they prove it is a high DUI area? One thing the prosecution or the government has to prove is that the area the police used to set up their DUI checkpoint is a high DUI arrest area. The police cannot just pick any area to stop ordinary citizens. There are several strict steps that they have to follow before they can start arresting people.
- What do you do at the checkpoint? You must treat the police with respect. However, you have no obligation to comply with the police. You must identify yourself, but you do not need to talk about where you were or where you are going. You do not need to talk about how much you have had to drink, or how drunk you think you may be. You need to remain silent at a DUI checkpoint. You have that right, invoke it.
Can the Police Stop Me for Avoiding a DUI Checkpoint?
A common question people have is, can you turn around before a DUI checkpoint Ohio? Some people who are about to go through a DUI checkpoint will turn around before entering it. How you avoid the checkpoint will determine whether an officer can lawfully detain you for avoiding a DUI / OVI checkpoint.
If you turnaround before entering a checkpoint location in a normal, sober manner, the police have no basis upon which to stop you. If, however, you attempt to leave the checkpoint after entering, an officer may be able to stop you.
Likewise, if you commit a traffic violation while attempting to avoid the checkpoint, an officer may also be able to stop you.
Assuming you turned before entering the checkpoint and obeyed all traffic laws, any subsequent stop may be considered unreasonable.
If you are facing charges after attempting to avoid a checkpoint, it is important to have an aggressive defense in place to protect you from charges that violate your rights.
Arrested at a DUI Checkpoint in Cleveland?
We at Patituce & Associates understand how difficult these cases can be on our clients, and let’s be honest: if you are already searching for information on Cleveland DUI checkpoints, you are well aware of the potential problems and pitfalls associated with a DUI arrest.
Before you head out, make sure you have our information. If you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint or pulled over, make sure you are ready to invoke your right to an attorney.
When you present our card to an officer, be firm in your request to have an attorney present. But also remember to be polite and decline to answer questions other than your name, social security number, and home address.
We feel very strongly that you should not have to pay to speak with one of our attorneys. Call us at (440) 471-7784 and ask to speak with us regarding your DUI arrest.