You Don't Have to Submit to Field Sobriety Tests
Updated: Feb 2
When a police officer lights you up on the road late at night after you've had a couple of drinks, it's perfectly natural for you to get nervous. Other than giving that officer your license, registration and proof of insurance, you really don't need to cooperate with him or her further. In fact, whatever you say or do could be used against you in court in the future. Rather than relinquishing your rights, you'll want to preserve and protect them. As you're probably going to be charged with driving under the influence anyway, there are certain measures that you can take to help your defense.
The Basis for the Stop
Unless you're approaching a driver safety checkpoint, a police officer can't just pull you over for no reason whatsoever. Even just briefly touching the centerline of a road with your tire is sufficient cause to make a traffic stop though. On a traffic stop late at night, it's likely that the officer who stopped you will ask whether you've consumed any alcoholic beverages. If you answer affirmatively, that's likely to elicit further questions and a request for you to perform certain field sobriety tests. You're not required to answer any questions, nor are you required to submit to any field sobriety tests. Although the officer who stopped you might sound authoritative, if you listen closely, he or she is merely requesting that you submit to roadside testing. You're not being ordered to perform any of them. The request usually starts out with an "OK, here's what I'd like you to do."
Dash Cams and Body Cams
Field sobriety tests are notoriously difficult tests to perform, especially at night when all of those lights are on you. Evaluation of performance is subjective and up to the sole discretion of the police officer who stopped you. If you've consumed alcohol before performing these tests, it's likely to be evident. Take note that the officer who stopped you is likely to be using a dash cam, body cam or both to record your performance on the tests. Politely refuse to perform any field sobriety tests at all. There's no reason whatsoever to give police and prosecutors more evidence that can be used against you. In Oklahoma, it's perfectly legal for you to refuse any field sobriety tests without any consequences at all. That includes any portable breath testing devices that you might be asked to blow into on the side of the road.
Breath testing at the police station has different rules. There are consequences for refusing such testing. If you're arrested for DUI in Bartlesville, OK or anywhere in or around Washington County, a variety of defenses are available for you. Contact Meason & Ramsey Law, right away. A DUI conviction can have serious employment, educational and economic repercussions. Retaining an experienced DUI attorney to represent you is your constitutional right. Even if it's only your first court date on a DUI charge, don't walk into court without Meason & Ramsey Law as your attorney.
Meason & Ramsey Law provides a professional experience for all our clients, helping them navigate their legal rights. Our focus is criminal law (felony and misdemeanors). We specialize in Criminal Law, Divorce and Family Law, Probate Law. We are currently accepting cases in Washington, Nowata and Osage counties. Meason & Ramsey Law has family lawyers, divorce lawyers, probate lawyers, criminal defense lawyers, DUI & DWI lawyers, co-counsel lawyers, family attorneys, divorce attorneys, probate attorneys, criminal defense attorneys, DUI & DWI attorneys and co-counsel attorneys. Marty Meason and Rodney D. Ramsey, Attorneys
Meason & Ramsey Law
515 Delaware Ave
Bartlesville, OK 74003