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How implied consent rules may affect drunk driving cases

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2024 | DUI Charges |

There are many reasons that an Oklahoma police officer might suspect someone of drunk driving. Sometimes, a driver swerves all over the road or drives at a low speed. Those specific behaviors have a known association with drunk driving. Other times, officers become suspicious after conducting a traffic stop for a completely unrelated reason or when responding to a motor vehicle collision. When a police officer believes that someone is under the influence of alcohol, they may begin attempting to gather evidence that can confirm those suspicions.

Drivers in Oklahoma may face requests to exit their vehicle to perform field sobriety tests or may even need to perform chemical breath tests during a traffic stop. Those who understand Oklahoma’s implied consent law may have an easier time asserting their rights during an encounter with an Oklahoma police officer.

What is implied consent?

State law in Oklahoma imposes numerous limitations on the privilege of driving. Motorists need to secure a license and register their vehicles. They also need to comply with all traffic laws. One of the current traffic rules in Oklahoma is the implied consent statute.

This law essentially states that anyone driving on public roads has already given their implied consent for future chemical testing. For the law to apply, a police officer typically needs to have probable cause to believe someone was under the influence of alcohol. In fact, implied consent rules typically do not take effect until a police officer has already decided that they intend to arrest the motorist for intoxication at the wheel.

Drivers not yet subject to arrest can potentially decline chemical testing requests without penalty. Those already under arrest do not have that same privilege. A refusal to perform a breath test when an officer has the probable cause necessary to arrest someone can lead to additional consequences. Implied consent violations can increase the duration of someone’s license suspension. An officer might also talk about someone refusing to undergo testing during a drunk driving court case.

Motorists who are aware of their rights and who know when they can ask to leave during an interaction with the police officer or declined testing may have an easier time avoiding the worst-case scenario in which they get arrested and charged with a crime.