Here's an important question: What are you legally required to do at an OVI checkpoint?
Akron defense attorney Jon Sinn, who has handled hundreds of OVI-related cases in more than 20 of years of practice, said it’s important for drivers to understand they are being scrutinized when they speak to an officer.
“Basically, people need to realize that the minute they pull into an OVI checkpoint they’re being investigated by law enforcement to determine if they’re driving under the influence,” Sinn said. “You don’t have to say where you’re coming from, or where you’re going, or how many drinks you had.
“Everything you say is being collected as evidence. The goal is to be as unmemorable as possible.”
Drivers must show their license and proof of insurance when requested. Drivers are not required to talk, but a motorist’s conduct sets the mood for the encounter, positively or negatively, Sinn said.
If asked to pull over from the checkpoint line for additional screening, drivers are not required to perform sobriety tests [like walking a straight line or reciting the alphabet in reverse order] to determine if he or she is under the influence.
However, refusing to take a breath analysis test could mean the courts can suspend the driver’s license.
Sinn contends that if a driver is asked to exit their vehicle, it often means the officer suspects impairment and an arrest is forthcoming. He said he tells his clients to avoid all sobriety tests and later request to have their driving privileges reinstated.
As far as other traffic stops, again, motorists are required to show I.D.
Sinn also recommends drivers remain calm, turn on their interior lights and keep their hands on the steering wheel. The idea is to put the officer at ease and perhaps avoid a costly ticket.
“Your attitude goes a long way in determining if you’re going to get a ticket or a warning,” Sinn said.