Your Top Ten Tips List:
1.) Don't drink and drive is the ONLY way to avoid a DUI in Ohio. However, it is not illegal to consume alcohol and operate a vehicle. Therefore, should you choose to consume a moderate amount of alcohol over a reasonable period of time, then you should be aware of the following tips. Be aware that drinking a small amount of alcohol while fatigued or while taking medication can make you impaired. Do not admit to either fatigue or medication as both facts will be used against you.
2.) Try not to drive after 11:00 p.m. The majority of DUI traffic stops in Ohio are after the 3rd shift officers start. They are the most aggressive in DUI enforcement officers in Ohio.
3.) Make sure that all equipment on your vehicle is operational and that your license plate and registration sticker is not obscured. Under current Ohio law, officers can stop you for miniscule equipment violations.
4.) If stopped by an officer, always be very polite and be aware of his or her safety. Try to pull over carefully and without any delay. Don't stop in the roadway without leaving a safe place for the cruiser and officer. Following this advice will demonstrate that you are thinking clearly and rationally. Make sure when the officer approaches you look at him or her and keep your hands up on the top of the steering wheel to let them know you are safe and, again, thinking clearly and rationally.
5.) Questions regarding the consumption of alcohol should be answered honestly but without being too specific. If you had wine with dinner, explain that fact, but make sure to state that you would prefer not to answer any more specific questions without an attorney being present. (i.e. quantity of alcohol)
6.) If asked to do roadside field sobriety tests, politely explain to the officer that you have nothing to hide and you don't want to be difficult, but you would prefer not to do these tests as they are dangerously unreliable. These tests have a reliability rate of ONLY 65-77% according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They are extremely unreliable "tests" to determine whether an individual is fit to drive. However, be aware that refusing to submit to these tests will undoubtedly accelerate your arrest.
7.) Always be on your best behavior. Most jurisdictions in Ohio have in-car cameras and/or video equipment at the police station. Always assume that everything you do and say will be recorded for your prosecution.
8.) The decision to take a breath test is a difficult one to make. Until Ohio adopts "dual testing" (taking 2 breath samples 2-10 minutes apart) it is recommended that you politely decline to take a breath test for this reason. Dual testing is the federal government's MINIMUM recommendation for breath testing in the United States and Ohio refuses to adopt it for unknown reasons.
9.) Upon being released, IMMEDIATELY write a narrative of all events from the time the officer stopped you to the time you were released. Try to remember everything and the smallest details.
10.) Retain an experienced DUI defense attorney to represent you. Find an attorney you are comfortable with and you can afford. Legal fees for a privately retained criminal defense attorney with a practice concentration in DUI defense will probably be at a premium rate.
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