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Answering seemingly innocent questions could lead to OVI charges

Law enforcement officers here in Ohio and elsewhere are taught how to ask questions to elicit information from drivers that they might not ordinarily provide. During an investigation into a suspected OVI incident, drivers ought to expect these types of questions. Otherwise, they could find themselves under arrest and facing charges for drunk driving, among other things.

For example, troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol approached a man carrying a laundry detergent box on an Interstate 90 exit ramp. They asked him if he had been involved in a crash near that area involving an Ohio Department of Transportation pickup truck. He told officers he was just panhandling.

However, when officers asked him if he would like the phone found in the other vehicle involved, he responded in the affirmative. Troopers immediately placed him under arrest for felony OVI, driving under suspension and hit-skip, among other things. Even so, his responses do not necessarily guarantee a guilty verdict for prosecutors. It will take more than claiming a phone that allegedly came from the other vehicle involved in the ODOT crash for that.

Anyone charged with OVI, especially if it involves an accident, ought to refrain from answering anything but basic identification questions from officers. However, if that advice comes too late, moving quickly to begin exploring the criminal defense options available is probably the next step. One thing is for sure, whether the OVI charges are misdemeanor or felony, they should be taken seriously since the repercussions will undoubtedly affect more than just the potential for jail time or fines. The personal and professional lives of these individuals are at stake as well.

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