Understanding DUI Tests
In the state of Oklahoma, motorists are prohibited from driving or operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When you're suspected of drunk driving or driving impaired, a police officer can stop your vehicle and ask you to take some DUI Tests, including sobriety tests and chemical tests. However, understanding your rights and obligations with DUI tests is imperative so that you do not complicate your case inadvertently or end up in the worst possible situation.
At The Handley Law Center, we're dedicated to offering reliable representation and legal guidance to clients in their DUI cases. Our knowledgeable Oklahoma criminal defense attorneys can investigate your case details and educate you about your rights pertaining to DUI tests, as well as help you understand the consequences of refusal. We're proud to serve clients across Canadian County, Oklahoma, and throughout Blaine County, Custer County, Caddo County, and Kingfisher County.
Understanding Implied Consent in Oklahoma
According to Oklahoma's implied consent law, any individual who operates a motor vehicle on public roads, streets, and highways across the state shall be considered to have given their consent to chemical tests – such as blood, saliva, breath, or urine test – to determine the presence or concentration of alcohol or other intoxicating substance in the person's system.
Furthermore, this means that all drivers in Oklahoma who have been lawfully arrested for drunk driving must consent to a blood, saliva, breath, or urine test to determine the concentration of alcohol in their blood or body system. Refusing a blood test after a lawful arrest may result in automatic driver's license suspension, huge fines, and other administrative penalties.
Blood Alcohol Test vs. Sobriety Test
A blood alcohol test is a chemical test done to determine a person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) – the amount of alcohol in the blood or body. As mentioned earlier, blood alcohol tests following a lawful DUI arrest are mandatory. In the state of Oklahoma, a person may be charged with DUI for having a BAC of at least 0.08%.
Conversely, field sobriety tests include three standardized tests that the police usually conduct by the roadside to determine if a driver is impaired, drunk, or sober. Generally, field sobriety tests are not as accurate and reliable as blood alcohol tests. Thus, field sobriety tests are voluntary in Oklahoma, and there are no penalties or legal consequences for refusal.
Types of Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are a group of three standardized tests – approved by the NHTSA – that the police may use to determine if a person's driving ability is impaired.
The One-Leg Stand Test
In the one-leg stand test, the law enforcement officer will ask you to stand on one foot about six inches above the ground and count aloud – from 1,001 – for around 30 seconds. During the process, the offer will observe your ability to concentrate on your counting while standing on one foot, without hopping around or missing the count.
The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
The horizontal gaze nystagmus test focuses on the jerking of the eyeballs. Here, the police officer will ask you to follow a moving object – placed in front of your nose – slowly. The officer will observe your ability to trail the moving object smoothly or not.
The Walk-and-Turn Test
In the walk-and-turn test, the police will ask you to take nine steps – in a heel-to-toe manner – in a straight line. Next, you will turn around on a single foot and return to your starting position in a similar heel-to-toe style. The officer will watch you for any sign of intoxication.
Generally, sobriety tests are not a reliable or accurate indicator of impairment, intoxication, or being sober. As a result, they are not often required under Oklahoma laws. Moreover, there are no consequences or legal punishments for refusing to take the sobriety tests.
Consequences of Refusal
According to statistics from the Crime in Oklahoma Report, there were 10,412 total DUI-related arrests statewide in 2021. Here are some of the legal consequences of refusing a field sobriety test or blood alcohol test after a lawful stop or arrest in Oklahoma:
Field Sobriety Test: There are no punishments for refusing to take a field sobriety test. As mentioned earlier, field sobriety tests are voluntary in Oklahoma. You are within your rights to refuse to take a field sobriety test.
Blood Alcohol Test: You cannot refuse a blood alcohol test. Refusing a blood, saliva, or blood alcohol test after a lawful arrest is a violation of Oklahoma's implied consent law. Some possible consequences of a refusal include:
driver's license suspension or revocation,
completing Oklahoma's Impaired Driver Accountability Program, and
enhanced penalties, apart from the standard Oklahoma DUI penalties if you're eventually convicted.
Unfortunately, being convicted of drunk driving can be devastating and may result in serious penalties and other immediate and life-altering consequences. Therefore, after a drunk driving arrest, you should hire an aggressive Oklahoma DUI defense attorney immediately to strategize a solid defense to help fight your charges.
Need Legal Help? Get in Touch With an Attorney.
Getting effective representation and guidance when facing DUI charges is crucial to navigating the criminal justice system. At The Handley Law Center, we have the diligence and resources to defend and represent clients in their DUI cases. Our reliable legal team can outline an effective defense for your case, dispute the accusations against you with factual evidence, and help keep your driving record clean.
Contact us at The Handley Law Center today to schedule a simple case assessment with experienced criminal defense lawyers. Our skilled attorneys can offer you the aggressive representation and personalized guidance you need to fight your DUI charges. We're proud to serve clients across Canadian County, Oklahoma, and throughout Blaine, Custer, Caddo, and Kingfisher counties.