As the summer draws to a close, many tourists and locals will be out to finish the season with a last hurrah over Labor Day weekend. The four-day weekend induced by the National Holiday will give everyone a chance to take trips, socialize, and relax. For some, that includes drinking with friends, and in light of the festivities, it’s important to proceed with caution when alcohol is involved. The Columbus police force will be on the look-out for drunk or drugged drivers, and may have checkpoints set-up to catch those with a BAC of more than .08. Nearly 700 individuals were reported as OVI, or more commonly known as DUI, offenders for 2012, and both local officers and highway patrolmen will be on high alert.
If you are pulled over while driving, that means that the officer already has probable cause, meaning a compelling reason, to stop you. This can range from a broken tail-light to speeding, but once you are stopped, the officer will keep an eye out for any signs of intoxication. If an officer notices any of the following, you may be arrested on suspicion of OVI:
- Slurred or nonsensical speech
- Inability to follow the officer’s directions
- Statements or admission of guilt by you or a passenger
- Open containers in the vehicle
- Smell of alcohol
- Unusually enlarged or constricted pupils
The officer may suspect that you are intoxicated if he finds any of the above, and you may be asked to complete a field sobriety test. You are not legally required to take this test, and it can be more difficult to pass than one would expect. If you refuse the test or fail, you may be asked to take a BAC test in the form of a breathalyzer, blood test, or urine test. There are legal ramifications for refusing these tests, unlike the field sobriety test.
If you are arrested for OVI in Ohio this weekend, you could face anywhere between 180 days and 18 months in prison and / or up to $5,000 in fines, depending on your circumstances. You may also have your license suspended and you may be required to participate in an intervention program. Remember that in the event of an arrest, you do have the right to remain silent and it may be in your best interest to consult an attorney before speaking to the police.