Do you have to take field sobriety tests?

Most people in Ponca City, Oklahoma, probably already are aware, at least somewhat, that in order to keep one's license, one agrees to take a legally sanctioned breath or blood test to check his or her blood alcohol content if a police officer has a well-founded reason, or probable cause, to believe the person was driving drunk.

However, as much as one might believe otherwise in the heat of the moment when being pulled over, Oklahoma citizens are under no requirement to give the police any other evidence when they are trying to determine if that person is too intoxicated to drive. By way of example, a person may simply refuse to take an officer's field sobriety tests, such as the one-leg stand, walking and turning and other tests. There is nothing an officer legally can do about it.

There is an important caveat to this, though. All an officer needs to have in order to conduct a certified breath or blood test is probable cause. The officer does not have to rely on field sobriety tests to do that. The officer can point to other factors like the driver's overall behavior, the driver's ability to operate his or her car and the observance of other common signs of intoxication, like bloodshot eyes or the smell of alcohol on one's breath.

The bottom line is that not taking the field sobriety tests is one's legal right, but it may not save a person from getting arrested and charged with an OUI offense. Still, if a criminal charge gets filed, then a person has a right to, and should, avail themselves of an experienced Oklahoma criminal defense attorney.

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