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Refusal / Silence: Can They Be Used Against You in a DUI Case?

Being pulled over when the police suspect you of driving under the influence can be terrifying. Some people respond to this nervousness by starting to talk to the officer about anything they can think of; however, the worst thing you can do is have a long, detailed conversation with a potential arresting officer. Once you’ve been pulled over, everything the offer says will be directed toward one goal—building a case against you for a DUI.

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows you to remain silent without fear of reprisal. Remaining silent may seem suspicious, but it is not grounds for a legal detention or chemical testing. An officer might try to get you into a conversation about what you were doing, where you are planning on going, and anything else they can get you to say. They are looking to engage you in conversation to tell whether or not you speak like an inebriated person. While you do have the right to remain silent, you do not have the right to refuse to show them your driver’s license and registration. Make sure to hand those over when they ask for them.

If you refuse to talk, the officer may ask you to step out of the car for a field sobriety test. If you are over the age of 21, you can refuse this test. It’s an incredibly subjective tool used to get enough information to warrant a trip to the station for a chemical blood test. However, if you haven’t given the officer any reason to believe you have been drinking, they can do little more than let you go.

However, if you have been detained, you must submit to a chemical blood test. By driving on public roads, you have unconsciously submitted and assented to Ohio’s implied consent laws, which specify you have already agreed to supply blood, urine, or breath for a chemical test if you are arrested. If you refuse, you will get a mandatory license suspension even if you haven’t had a drop of alcohol to drink. Likewise, the police can forcibly take a chemical sample from you.

While silence can’t be used against you in a court of law, refusal to take a DUI test will most definitely be used against you. If you’re facing a DUI charge, don’t hesitate to give our skilled West Chester DUI attorneys. Let us see what we can do for you.

Contact us at our office or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.