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What you need to know about implied consent laws

Over the past half century, the push by policymakers and law enforcement officials to curtail drinking and driving in the public interest has led to a number of social changes. Among them is the use of blood, urine, and breath tests to determine whether a driver has been operating a vehicle under the influence. Unfortunately, in practice many law enforcement agencies rely almost exclusively on breath testing, which can be rendered inaccurate in several different ways. This has led some to question whether motorists should refuse to take a test if asked. The short answer is no, because there are laws that state that possession of a driver's license implies your consent to be tested, so refusing the test is unlawful.

Details about Oklahoma's implied consent

Despite concerns from the legal community about the ways implied consent laws might sidestep due process, Oklahoma has joined the rest of the country in passing measures designed to ensure drivers who refuse to be tested for alcohol use do not retain their licenses. That means:

  • Officers can choose whether to request blood, urine, or breath testing.
  • Drivers who refuse the test may still be required to purchase an ignition interlock to regain driving privileges.
  • You do not have a right to consult with an attorney before deciding whether to take the test or before taking it.
  • You can request an additional test to corroborate the results at your own expense.
  • Officers have to present you with this card informing you of your requirements under the law and the penalties.

What to do if you believe you will test positive

Whether or not you have been drinking when you're pulled over by a police officer, you should be prepared to take a breath test even if you think you will not pass. After the test, if you are arrested, you should have the opportunity to contact an attorney and to receive legal advice. Before making any statements to the police, this is a good idea. Your attorney will be able to advise you about whether there is a case for throwing out your test results. If there is not, experience allows attorneys who work in this area of the law to develop a better toolkit for negotiating outcomes with the prosecution.

If you are arrested for driving under the influence, do not wait to exercise your rights. The sooner you have legal help, the sooner you will know how to protect your best interests.

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