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Most drivers have encountered a DUI / OVI checkpoint during their time behind the wheel. Even if you are abiding by the law, this can be an intimidating experience and cause some people to act nervous or to say things that are against their interests. Before you encounter a checkpoint, it is helpful to know a few key tips to ensure that you navigate the situation easily and smoothly. But if you find yourself facing a DUI / OVI charge as a result of being stopped at a checkpoint, then it is advisable for you to speak with a knowledgeable Cleveland DUI lawyer. Attorney A. Dale Naticchia has handled DUI / OVI cases on behalf of residents located in Akron and other areas of Cuyahoga County. He is prepared to evaluate your case and help you assert your rights throughout each step of the process following an arrest.DUI / OVI Checkpoints in Ohio
Although many people refer to the offense of driving under the influence as a DUI, under Ohio law it is classified as operating a vehicle while intoxicated, or OVI. Checkpoints were ruled to be a legal way to catch individuals who are violating the law by the US Supreme Court in 1990, so you cannot fight a DUI / OVI charge simply because it originated from a checkpoint. In order for a checkpoint to be created, law enforcement personnel have to show that the area where the checkpoint will be set up is an area where many alcohol-related crashes have taken place. Without showing a sufficient need, officers cannot set up a checkpoint.
After showing the need for a checkpoint, officers are required to provide a proposed map that shows where the staff will be located and how it will be managed. The officers must also provide one-week notice to residents in the area about the checkpoint including the time, date, and location. A few hours prior to the checkpoint starting, the administrator will also issue an advisory providing the specific location that it is taking place as well as the time it will start and the time it will end. Officers who are assigned to the checkpoint will be required to attend a briefing before it begins and will be reminded about how to execute checkpoint procedures properly.DUI / OVI Checkpoint Procedures
There are specific procedures that must be followed during a DUI / OVI checkpoint. Not every vehicle will be required to stop and some will be allowed to pass right through depending on the volume of traffic passing through the checkpoint. If you are asked to stop, an officer will engage with you and assess whether there are signs that you are intoxicated or otherwise impaired. Some of the signs they commonly look for are slurred speech, the odor of alcohol, nervousness, and erratic behavior.
If the officer has a reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence, you will be asked to pull into the screening area and undergo a field sobriety test. In this test, you will be asked to perform a few different physical tests including a one-legged stand, a walk and turn, and following an object with your eyes. If you fail these tests, then the officer has probable cause to arrest you for driving under the influence, which means you will be transported to jail.
Attorney A. Dale Naticchia has seen firsthand how devastating an alcohol-related driving charge can be for an individual. Even though you were arrested for drunk driving, there may be constitutional defenses that apply to your case that require the charges to be reduced or dropped entirely. An example would be if the police failed to follow proper procedures when detaining you or searching your vehicle. Any evidence that is obtained unlawfully must be dropped from your case.Speak With a Seasoned DUI / OVI Lawyer in Cleveland
If you are facing a DUI / OVI charge related to a checkpoint or any other circumstance, it is important to understand your rights and whether you are being treated fairly. Attorney A. Dale Naticchia is available to assist clients throughout Cleveland, Parma, Berea, Bedford, Rocky River, Garfield Heights, Stow, and Barberton. To schedule a free consultation with him, call 216-520-5297 or fill out our online contact form.