In Tulsa, you can refuse a breathalyzer test if you are pulled over but doing so has serious consequences.
The breath test, more commonly known as the breathalyzer, is a tool law enforcement officers use to determine if someone is driving under the influence of alcohol. Being pulled over and being asked to take such a test is an intimidating experience. Breathalyzers in particular are misunderstood, and motorists often wonder if they are required to take these tests. Although drivers have the right to refuse these tests, they may face a separate conviction in addition to DUI penalties for doing so.
Oklahoma’s Implied Consent Laws
Driving is a privilege in Oklahoma, it is not a right. As soon as a driver receives their driver’s license, they have already given consent to submit to chemical tests, including blood and breath tests. This is known as the state’s implied consent law. Not only must drivers provide these tests when they are asked by law enforcement officers, but if a person is unconscious, law enforcement has the right to withdraw blood to determine the individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels.
Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test
Refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test holds serious consequences. The motorist’s driver’s license will be revoked for a maximum of three years. Even after a person has their driver’s license reinstated, they are required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle. The device must be installed for a minimum of 18 months and a maximum of five years. The prosecution will also likely point to the refusal as an indication of a person’s guilt of a DUI.
Problems with Breathalyzer Tests
One of the reasons drivers are so reluctant to submit to a breathalyzer test is because it is well known that these tests are inaccurate. Even people that are completely sober find it difficult to take these tests properly.
Breathalyzer tests are very delicately calibrated, and police officers are responsible for ensuring these devices have proper calibration before asking a driver to take the test. This calibration becomes skewed easily, particularly when the tests are placed in police cars and are jostled around during transport. Officers also do not always ensure that these machines are calibrated properly, often in their overzealous attempt to make an arrest.
Many of the breathalyzer machines in Oklahoma are very old, meaning that they are out of date. Even when these machines are properly calibrated, their age alone may make them more susceptible to providing inaccurate results.
Our Oklahoma DUI Lawyers can Help with Your Charges
Whether you have lost your driver’s license after refusing a breathalyzer test, or you have been charged with a DUI, our Tulsa DUI lawyers can help. At the Law Firm of Boettcher, Devinney, Ingle & Wicker, we know the problems associated with breathalyzers and we understand the defenses available to DUI charges. If you have lost your driver’s license, we will also help you through the steps of reinstatement so your life is disrupted as little as possible. Call us today at (918) 728-6500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.