The flashing lights in the rearview mirror sent a shiver down Janelle’s spine. She had just come from a friend’s holiday party and knew she probably had too much to drink. But she didn’t think she was driving that poorly. Why was this officer pulling her over? She carefully pulled her car over to the side of the road and waited for the officer to come up and speak with her. Janelle thought about taking a breath mint, but before she could act on her impulse, the officer was at her window. After handing over her license, insurance information and registration, the officer asked: “Have you had anything to drink tonight?” Janelle ponders what she should do as she knows she might fail field sobriety tests and any breath or blood test the officer requests.

The Dangers of Refusing Testing

When you are pulled over and the officer begins questioning you about alcohol consumption, you are not required to answer any of the officer’s questions. Nor are you required to conduct any of the field sobriety tests the officer requests you to perform roadside. And even if the officer requests you submit to a breath test or other type of alcohol testing, you still have the right to refuse such testing.

Before discussing the potential benefits of this course of action, you should be aware that refusing testing can result in some negative consequences. First, if the officer smelled alcohol on your person or saw alcohol in plain view in your car, that coupled with your refusal to complete any testing can be enough for the officer to arrest you. Second, your refusal to complete a breath, blood, urine, or other test can be punished as a separate crime. Lastly, even despite your refusal to complete testing you can still be prosecuted and convicted of OVI, especially if the officer observed poor driving, recorded slurred speech, or if you “looked drunk” on the car camera system.

Does Refusing Testing Have Any Benefits?

One of the greatest benefits to refusing all testing is that it deprives the prosecutor of crucial evidence it may need in order to convict you of OVI. Without breath, blood, urine, or other such tests, the prosecutor does not have scientific evidence to support a conviction and can only convict by showing you were too impaired to drive. Refusing field sobriety tests and refusing to answer any questions about alcohol consumption further limits the evidence available to the prosecutor.

Speak with a Columbus DUI-OVI Defense Attorney

Unfortunately, you do not have the right to speak with an attorney before deciding to submit to any testing, so consider the benefits and drawbacks before you find yourself in Janelle’s situation. In general, there is little benefit to refuse all testing. If you are pulled over and charged with OVI, contact the attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC as soon as possible at (614) 827-2000. The earlier you contact us, the sooner we can get to work on your case.