Getting a DUI in Oklahoma is full of traps for the unwary – here are 5 tips if you are ever pulled over and suspected of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (or Drugs). This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but rather just hit the highlights of what you need to know for a typical (not every) DUI encounter. Consult a qualified criminal defense attorney for more information.
- DO NOT tell the police how much you have had to drink, when the last time you smoked pot, took your prescription medication or even if you were driving the car. It is none of their business and can land you in jail or prove your guilt. Did you know that if a blood test shows any traceable amount of marijuana in your system, even if you smoked it weeks ago, you will be charged and likely convicted of DUI? Politely decline to answer their questions by saying “My attorney told me to politely decline to answer any questions” You are required to produce your drivers license, no more, no less.
- DO NOT take the standard field sobriety tests (“SFST’s”) such as the HGN (“eye test”) Walk and Turn or Balance test. It very rarely helps you, and will often hurt you. Even though the police report will say they “requested” or “asked” you to do the SFST’s, the officer won’t really request anything. They will generally start the eye test by telling you to look at their pen or something similar. Politely decline by saying “My attorney told me to politely decline to do any field sobriety tests” The officer will not like you politely declining these tests. He will say “How can I tell if you are drunk or not if you don’t do the test.” What he is really saying is “I need more evidence. Do my tests so I have more evidence against you.” If you are sober, and get taken to the station, the breathalyzer will show that you are sober way better than tests they usually screw up on anyway. If you are drunk, it will just be additional evidence against you, so don’t give it to them!
- DO NOT take the Portable Breath Tester (PBT) that some officers are now carrying with them in their patrol vehicles. These are untested and unreliable and they will be used against you in determining probable cause. A PBT is NOT the official breath test that will be offered, generally at the police department or County Jail. That is different (See Below). The officer will not like you declining their PBT. They will say that it will show you are innocent if you are not intoxicated and you can be on your way. Don’t fall for their trap. If you are innocent, the official breath test (or blood – if offered) will show you are innocent. If you are guilty, it will just give them more evidence against you. Politely decline by saying “My attorney has advised me to politely decline to do a PBT.” Remember this is for the PORTABLE BREATH TEST not the OFFICIAL BREATH TEST after being read your implied consent rights.
- DO take the State’s official breath test (or blood if offered). I have had a lot of clients tell me they were told not to take the breathalyzer. I am not sure where this information has come from, but it is not very good advice. For a first time DUI where you have refused the official test, you can lose your license and be required to have an interlock (breathalyzer) in your vehicle for 24 months (6 months modifiable suspension + 18 months interlock) instead of a 6 month modifiable suspension for a regular DUI where you blew a .08 to .14. The only time I tell people not to take the state’s test is if they have a sensitive job where a very high BAC or proof of use of some sort of drug will probably get them fired but a DUI will not. In other words, if you are a doctor and have been using cocaine, meth and popping pills and they ask for a blood test, the probable DUI and the 24 month DL suspension is going to be better for you than everyone knowing you were on all these different drugs. For the rest of us, it is almost always my advice to take the Official Test at the station or jail. Update: Recent Appellate cases have made it difficult for the state to admit breath tests at trial. These are currently on appeal to the Supreme Court, so it is up in the air on what the end result will be, but for now, breath tests have been ruled inadmissible in many jurisdictions, so TAKE THE TEST (Not the the cheesy one they have in the car, the OFFICIAL State’s test.
- DO call an attorney immediately upon being released. You only have 15 days from the date of arrest to apply for an administrative hearing to try and save your license. This is a short time period that will sneak up on you. If you do not hire an attorney in this time frame, you lose your right to challenge the revocation and you will automatically lose your license 30 days after being arrested. An attorney may be able to get you a modified license at that point, but you will be without a license until the attorney can get DPS to deal with your case, which can take quite awhile.
Hopefully you won’t need these tips, or a DUI lawyer, but if you do, don’t hesitate to contact Faulk Law Firm, PLLC at 580.249.9100 for your FREE consultation.
Fine Print: These tips do not create an attorney/client relationship. I am not your attorney until you hire me.