A big part of most DUI investigations is the use of a person’s breath, blood, or urine to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Oklahoma, like all other states, has implied consent laws that generally require drivers to submit to testing when lawfully arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).
Oklahoma law says that any person who operates a vehicle within the state is deemed to have given consent to BAC testing. If an officer has made an arrest for driving under the influence or if the person was involved in a traffic accident fatality, the officer is required to request the person submit to a breath test. Under certain circumstances—such as driver being unconscious—the officer can request a blood sample be drawn to determine BAC.
A test can’t be administered without consent or a warrant, but an unlawful refusal can result in certain penalties.
Drivers who refuse to submit to a lawful request for a breath, blood, or urine test will have their license seized and revoked for 180 days to three years. However, it’s possible for this suspension to be modified to allow the licensee to operate a vehicle with an ignition interlock device (IID). The license suspension for a refusal is separate from the criminal DUI charge and can be imposed even if the criminal charge is ultimately dismissed.
The fact that a driver refused to submit to testing can be used against them at trial. While refusal might not be sufficient on its own to prove intoxication, the prosecution can argue that the defendant’s refusal is an indicator tending to show that the person was intoxicated. And a BAC test isn’t required for a jury to find a driver guilty of DUI.
When a driver refuses to submit to BAC testing, the arresting officer has the option of seeking a warrant to obtain a blood draw. Once a warrant is obtained, the driver can’t refuse testing. To obtain the blood sample, police can use force if necessary.
If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence in Oklahoma, you should get in touch with an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Implied consent and DUI law is constantly changing, and the facts of each case are unique. A qualified DUI attorney can let you know how the law applies in your case.