DUI kits and your rights

Tuesday, September 4th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

How many options do you have if you're pulled over for drunk driving? You might be surprised at the rights you don't have. News on Six reporter Heather Brooker says a new DUI kit is misleading drivers.

The kit was actually developed in Chicago by an attorney. It’s called "Ramsell's Roadside Rights." And the Oklahoma Highway Patrol says before you buy into it, you should know your rights. ”Drivers license and insurance please." The Oklahoma Highway Patrol was out in full force over the Labor Day weekend. Troopers say as usual, they were keeping an eye out for signs of drunk driving. OHP trooper 2nd Lt. Paul Lankster, "after the stop is made, the trooper approaches the car and initiates physical contact, face to face contact with that individual." Lankster says they do that to see if the person has been drinking before initiating a sobriety test. But a new "Roadside Rights" kit out of Chicago teaches drivers how to refuse to take a sobriety test and how to answer police questions without an attorney present. Troopers say that won't fly in Oklahoma. "There isn't a right answer to give us that you haven't had as much to drink as you actually have. If you are asked by a peace officer to take a breath test that you will consent, if you fail to do that your license is suspended."

You might not know it, but your driver’s license doesn't actually belong to you. It belongs to the state. And when you sign up for it, you're actually consenting to take a sobriety test. A few other things you might not be aware of when you're pulled over, you are not entitled to consult with an attorney before deciding to take a sobriety test. The test will either be a breath test or a blood test at no cost to you. And if you refuse the test, your license is revoked for 180 days. So Lankster says the bottom line is, "there's not a kit out there that can give you special keys as to how to answer a question posed by a law enforcement officer."

A little card called the "implied consent test request" lists your rights under Oklahoma law when you’re pulled over for drunk driving. Every officer should have one. And no matter what a "roadside rights" kit may tell you, troopers say, if they smell alcohol, and you look drunk, you're going to jail.