I Was Pulled Over For A DUI But Only Had 1 Drink. What Can I Do?
Many people like to have a drink while on a date night with their significant other. A glass of wine, maybe a margarita, or a beer with dinner is acceptable for most. Unfortunately if you get pulled over by law enforcement they don’t often care or believe you if you say you’ve had only one drink.
In Oklahoma, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08%, which means a driver with a BAC above this limit is considered intoxicated under Oklahoma law. In fact, even a person operating a motor vehicle with a BAC below .08% can be charged with impaired driving in OK so whether it is 1 drink or more you may still face charges under Oklahoma law.
Despite your tolerance to the effects of alcohol, or at least what you perceive them to be, BAC is dependent solely on your weight and the amount of alcohol that you have consumed. Thus, just because you do not feel “buzzed” does not mean your BAC does not exceed .08%. If you have had 2-3 drinks within the hour, you are likely over the legal limit if you are of average size and weight.
You should keep in mind this advice if you find yourself in such a situation:
- Keep quiet: You have the right to remain silent and not answer any questions. An officer is not required to read you your Miranda rights unless you are under arrest and are being questioned or interrogated. Even if you have only had one drink all night, you should never admit guilt. Answering questions will give the officer probable cause to further his investigation into your alleged intoxication level. If you keep silent, the officer cannot testify that he smelled alcohol on your breath or that your speech was slurred.
- Common Sense: If you are positive that your BAC is below .08%, use common sense in dealing with the officer who pulled you over. It would make sense to comply with his/her requests if you are not legally impaired. However, if you are unsure as to your BAC, or you believe yourself to be intoxicated, you should simply state to the officer that you do not wish to perform any field sobriety tests or consent to a breathalyzer test at this time. Likewise, you should state to the officer that if you are under arrest, that you do not consent to any further questioning until your attorney is present.
- Stay in your vehicle: Unless the officer asks you to leave the vehicle it is best to stay seated, belted in, with your hands on the wheel in full view of the officer. Keeping the officer at ease is the best option when pulled over for any reason.
- Field sobriety tests: These are NOT the same as chemical testing, which is discussed below. Field sobriety tests check for coordination and balance–acts people don’t normally perform sober or drunk–can set you up for failure. In most states, you are not required by law to complete these tests and refusal to comply cannot be held against you. You may inform the officer that you are not comfortable leaving your vehicle on a busy road to perform agility tests with which you are unfamiliar.
- Chemical testing: By obtaining a license, you (unknowingly) have agreed to submit to chemical testing of your blood, breath, or urine, at the request of a police officer. Some states allow you to choose which form of testing be done but refusing road side testing can also come with revocation of your license even if you are found not guilty of DUI. If the officer wants you to submit to a Breathalyzer, the reliability of which is suspect, you may want to weigh your options. If you think you may fail the test, the consequences of refusal may be better than the consequences of submitting. In Oklahoma, if you believe that you are intoxicated at the time you are pulled over, it may be advantageous from a legal standpoint to refuse to submit to a breathalyzer. Conversely, if you are positive you are below the legal limit, it may be advantageous to comply with the officer’s request.
Contact a defense attorney
You may wish to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney in your area about your state’s laws and the best way to approach chemical testing. While you may be required to submit to the testing it can unreliable and an experience defense attorney may be able to have the evidence from testing discounted or thrown out during trial.
To discuss your legal concern with a qualified lawyer, call 405-235-4500 or send an e-mail. For the convenience of our clients, we are glad to schedule off-site, evening or weekend appointments.