It is important to know your rights when you are pulled over by an officer and asked to submit to breath, blood, or field sobriety testing.
What Is Implied Consent?
Every state has some version of implied consent laws. Essentially, implied consent means that if you are driving in Oregon, you automatically consent to taking a chemical test (breath or blood) when asked by police. This is most commonly a breathalyzer test.
In some states, refusing to do this results in both administrative and criminal penalties. In Oregon, you will only face administrative penalties.
What Happens If I Refuse a Chemical Test in Oregon?
Refusing to submit to breath or blood testing is considered a traffic violation. This will result in a fine of up to $1,000.
Arguably the most serious consequence of refusing a chemical test is the license suspension that follows. Oregon will suspend your license for at least one year if you refuse to submit to breath or blood testing.
The suspension may be increased to multiple years if you:
- Were enrolled in a DUII diversion program at the time of refusal
- Had previously completed the DUII diversion program
- Have been convicted of DUII
At the time of the refusal, the officer will immediately take your license and give you a 30-day temporary license in exchange. Once the 30 days are up, your license suspension begins.
This is incredibly inconvenient, as you need to be able to drive to get to work, run errands, and other daily activities.
If you have had your license suspended after refusing to submit to a chemical test, there is one option available. You have 10 days after the arrest to file for a DMV hearing
At a DMV hearing, a judge will decide whether or not the suspension is valid.
Am I Required To Take A Field Sobriety Test In Oregon?
Field sobriety tests are not classified as chemical tests. So, are they covered under implied consent laws?
Three Types of Field Sobriety Tests
The Walk and Turn Test is when you are told to take nine steps, heel-to-toe, in a straight line. Once you do that, you must pivot and do the same heading back toward the officer. During this test, the officer will look for signs that you are intoxicated, such as a lack of balance.
The One-Leg Stand Test is when you are instructed to raise one leg and keep your foot parallel off the ground, about six inches high. You then must count until the officer says to stop. During this test, the officer will also be checking to see if you can balance, or if you put your foot back on the ground.
The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test focuses on your eye movement. The officer will slowly move an object back and forth in front of you, and tell you to follow it with just your eyes. The officer will be looking for any jerky eye movements or if you also move your head to follow the object, along with other indications of impairment.
You CAN refuse!
Field sobriety tests are not mandatory under implied consent. In fact, they are considered a search, which you have the right to refuse.
You can refuse to submit to field sobriety testing with no consequences to your license. However, the officer may try to use your refusal against you if the case goes further.
There are many factors that could lead you to fail a field sobriety test that are not alcohol-related.
- Misunderstanding instructions
- Physical disabilities
- Road conditions
Medford DUII Defense
Refusal to submit to testing is not an automatic admission of guilt. At The Law Office of Justin Rosas, we can help you defend against DUII charges. We will thoroughly investigate all aspects of your case, including the administration of chemical or field sobriety tests. Contact us today to set up a consultation with our dedicated Oregon DUI attorney: (541) 933-5972