If you refuse the breathalyzer in a DUI case in Oklahoma there are real consequences. We’ve all seen those episodes where police officers pull over drunk drivers and give them a sobriety test. Usually, the drunk drivers stumble and slur their words. Then, the officers administered a breathalyzer test to check the drivers’ blood alcohol content level. As you probably know, drivers’ blood alcohol content (BAC) can’t be 0.08 or higher. Otherwise, they’ll be arrested and charged with a DUI. You may ask yourself, “Why do they even take the test? Can’t they refuse to take it?” If you’re an Oklahoma driver and want to know whether you can refuse a breathalyzer test, keep reading from or criminal defense blog.
The Police and How They Pull You Over
Recently the DUI lawyers at Kania Law was hired by a client who was pulled over on highway 75. Our Client was driving late at night approaching Okmulgee where he is employed. The police pulled him over claiming that he failed change lanes in a safe manner. Once pulled over the police asked him if he had been drinking and to this question our client answered that he had not. The police asked him to exit his vehicle and asked to take a filed sobriety test. He took the test and was next told to take a blood alcohol test. He refused the test and was transported to Okmulgee County jail. He was charged with a felony DUI and bonded out.
After pleading not guilty our client who insisted he was sober had his license automatically suspended for failing to comply to a breathalyzer. At the end our client was forced to put on a trial where the state was unable to get the twelve jurors hearing the case that our client was driving drunk.
Implied Consent To Take The Breathalyzer
If they didn’t teach you this in your Driver’s Ed Course, let us be the first to say that you automatically consent to an officer giving you a breathalyzer test when you drive. Oklahoma has an implied consent law. This law doesn’t only apply to licensed drivers. It applies to anyone who operates any sort of motor vehicle. Under this law, an officer may request that you take a chemical test—which can be a blood, urine, or breath test—to see if you’re intoxicated. But must you submit? In short, no, but refusal may not be in your best interest. This consent requires the officer to have a reasonable suspicion based on probable cause that the driver has consumed alcohol or another substances that impacts their ability to operate the vehicle.
DUI/DWI Warrant And Arrest
Although an officer can’t physically force you to submit to a chemical test, your refusal can be used against you in court. From the law’s perspective, why else would you refuse to take the test? Thus, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a judge or jury can use your refusal to take a blood alcohol test as some evidence tending to show that you were drinking. Bur remember the Police must have other evidence of your guilt and this must be enough to convince a Jury beyond a reasonable doubt that you were in fact drunk driving. Additionally, as is pointed out above, the police must have probable cause to pull you over and ask you to submit to testing.
If you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, the arresting officer will confiscate your driver’s license and hand you a Notice of Revocation. This notice temporarily suspends your driving privileges. The DMV can suspend or revoke your license for a period ranging from 180 days to three years. However, suppose you contact a DUI attorney who helps you enroll and participate in the Oklahoma IDAP program. In this case the license is not suspended but rather you agree to place a interlock device in your vehicle. This device requires that in order to start the vehicle the sample breath test you blew into the device must not detect the presence of alcohol. At the conclusion of the IDAP you don’t have to apply for reinstatement of your license because it wasn’t suspended in the first place.
DO I Need an Okmulgee DUI Attorney?
Suppose the state has accused you of driving under the influence of alcohol, and you refused to take a breathalyzer test. In that case, you should speak with a knowledgeable Oklahoma DUI attorney immediately. A DUI charge should be taken seriously. If convicted, you’re at risk of facing lengthy jail time, and a criminal record will negatively impact your career and education goals. Furthermore, if the DMV suspends your license, getting to work or dropping your children off at school has just become that much more complicated. So don’t sleep on your rights. Call our Okmulgee DUI lawyers today at (918) 621-8083 or contact us online for a free consultation.