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To what extent do you need to agree to participate in a sobriety test when driving in Oregon? What about when you are walking?

Corvallis, OR |

Under Oregon Driving Laws, by driving you need to follow the "Implied Consent Law", meaning you need to submit a alcohol test if asked by a police officer. But does that mean you automatically need to if they ask? Or is it only if they actually arrest you for a DUII that you need to submit one? If they don't actually arrest you, do you need to do their tests if they ask? Or can you just politely refuse, saying you need to consult an attorney first?

Also, it's illegal to be drunk in public, right? But you aren't driving, so the "Implied Consent Law" has no influence over you, correct? So how would a police officer test your blood alcohol level, or administer tests if you are walking? Are you still able to refuse? What if you are under 21? Can you still refuse to take an alcohol test?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Under 21 you have no right to drink.
    You can refuse an alcohol test. If you do and they have evidence that you have been driving you can lose your license to drive.
    In Wisconsin, for the implied consent to kick in you must have been arrested for OWI (DUI).

    You do not have to take field sobriety tests. You do not have to blow into handheld breath machines at the roadside.

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    --- Experienced DUI/DWI/OWI/Drunk Driving Lawyer in Madison, Wisconsin

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    --- Ten Days to Save Your License - Administrative Suspension and Refusals in Madison (Dane County) Wisconsin

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  2. Mr. Kenyon is on point. To add to his comment, Oregon officers are allowed to perform a blood draw without a warrant.

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  3. Whether you must take the tests and whether you should take the tests are very different questions. You seem to have a handle on the Implied Consent Law, that's a DMV thing that could cost you your license.

    It is not illegal to refuse to take field sobriety tests or refuse to answer questions - we have a constitutional right not to answer questions. The police can draw someone's blood with or without a warrant so, there's that to think about. You should probably as for lawyer at the same time to invoke your right to silence: " My lawyer told me not to answer any questions or take those tests."

  4. If you are walking and the police request a sobriety test, that is a search and either they have a warrant or some exception to the warrant requirement. Your consent is one of those exceptions. The extent to which you need to agree depends upon all the circumstances, e.g., are you under arrest? Whenever the police seek information, you should carefully consider the circumstances and ask if you are under arrest before answering any questions.

    This answer if for general information only.

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