OVI / DUI Investigations Part 1: The Stop And Arrest
This two-part section of the website gives an overview of typical DUI / OVI investigations. Part 1 describes the investigation up to and including the arrest, and part 2 describes the investigation after the arrest. These pages of the website also explain some of the rights you have and illustrate how a good Columbus, Ohio DUI / OVI attorney may use deficiencies in investigations to improve the outcome of your DUI / OVI case.The Vehicle In Motion Phase Of DUI / OVI Investigations
The first stage of a DUI / OVI investigation is usually an officer making observations while your vehicle is in motion. Officers are taught to look for certain clues that a driver is likely to be under the influence. Some of the clues the officers look for include: weaving, driving outside the lane, making wide turns, striking or nearly striking objects, problems stopping, erratic speed changes, responding slowly to traffic signals, driving without headlights, unsafe lane changes, improper turns, and driving recklessly. An officer may also begin an encounter with you based on a "tip" that you are intoxicated, a simple traffic violation such as speeding, an equipment violation, or an accident. For an officer to make a traffic stop, the officer must have probable cause to believe you already committed an offense or reasonable suspicion that further investigation will show you are driving under the influence. A DUI / OVI attorney will review the officer’s report and cruiser video to determine if the initial traffic stop was justified.The Personal Contact Phase Of DUI / OVI Investigations
The next stage of a DUI / OVI investigation is the officer’s observations when the officer makes contact with you. Before making contact with you, the officer will take note of any problems you have responding to the cruiser lights and safely stopping your vehicle. When the officer approaches your vehicle and interacts with you, the officer will be looking for evidence that you are under the influence. That evidence includes: the odor of alcohol, the condition of your eyes, the manner of your speech, the condition of your clothes, your coordination when providing your license, your attitude, and other factors. For an officer to continue detaining you for a DUI / OVI investigation, the evidence observed by the officer must give the officer a reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence. A DUI / OVI lawyer will review the discovery from the prosecuting attorney to evaluate whether the continued detention was legal.The Pre-Arrest Screening Phase Of DUI / OVI Investigations
This phase is commonly referred to as field sobriety tests. These tests are designed to assist the officer in determining whether you are under the influence or likely to test over the legal limit. The standardized field sobriety tests are the walk and turn (walk nine steps, turn, walk nine steps back), the one leg stand (stand on one leg for thirty seconds), and the horizontal gaze nystagmus (follow a pen or other stimulus with your eyes). Although the officers do not tell you, you are not legally required to perform these tests, and there are pros and cons to taking/refusing the tests. A DUI / OVI attorney will review the video recording of the field sobriety tests to determine how well you performed on the tests, as well as how well the officer administered the tests. For more information on these tests, please see the Field Sobriety Tests page of this site.Arrests In DUI / OVI Cases
If the officer concludes you are under the influence, the officer will place you under arrest. Ordinarily, that means the officer tells you that you are under arrest and handcuffs you. To justify arresting you, the officer must have probable cause to believe you operated a vehicle under the influence. That conclusion is based on the totality of the circumstances and should include consideration of all the evidence indicating you are under the influence, as well as all the evidence indicating you are not under the influence. A DUI / OVI attorney will examine the evidence to determine if the arrest was justified.
My practice is focused on DUI / OVI defense, and I completed the same training as police officers for detecting drunk drivers and administering field sobriety tests. For more information about me, please see my profile, and for more details about my practice, please see the firm overview. You can also see what clients say and review my past case results. I limit the number of cases I accept so I can provide outstanding service to my clients. If you would like to discuss how I can use DUI / OVI investigation deficiencies to help with your DUI / OVI case, EMAIL ME or call me at 614-717-1177 to arrange a free consultation.