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Can you refuse chemical testing during a traffic stop?

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2022 | DUI

Most drivers are immediately wary of a police officer during a traffic stop. After all, their goal is to prove that you did something wrong that justifies them issuing a citation or possibly arresting you. You want to avoid implicating yourself when an officer suggests that they believe you did something illegal, such as driving while drunk.

When an officer asks you to perform a chemical test during a traffic stop or after a car crash, you may worry about the accuracy of the testing system that they employ and what a positive result might mean for your future.

Can you refuse to perform the test?

You have already given your consent to testing

The Oklahoma implied consent law gives police officers with probable cause to suspect chemical impairment the right to request breath or blood testing for alcohol or drugs. Every driver on the road has effectively already agreed to chemical testing for necessary enforcement purposes through the implied consent law. If you refuse to undergo a test when an officer requests it of you, they will likely arrest you.

The penalties for a violation of the implied consent law involve a suspension of your license. The first time someone refuses a blood or breath test when an officer has probable cause to request them, they will potentially lose their license for 180 days. Those with a prior refusal in the last ten years can lose their license for a full year. Third or subsequent offenses can lead to a three-year loss of driving privileges.

The courts may still convict you of impaired driving

Although refusing a chemical test will mean that the state does not have clear evidence of intoxication at the wheel, your refusal to test can count against you in criminal proceedings. The courts may consider your objection to testing comparable to an admission of guilt.

Those who undergo a test and then later question the accuracy of the results may potentially have grounds for a defense strategy related to challenging the breath test or providing an alternate explanation. Learning more about the laws that apply in scenarios involving drunk driving allegations will help those accused of breaking state law.