Q & A: My Daughter, age 20, drank at a party in the afternoon, pulled over 1:20 a.m., refused tests

Question:    She was speeding, not driving erratically, pulled over. Officer states he smelled alcohol, subjected her to 5 sobriety tests, which she passed. She refused the breathylyzer cuz she has been told multiple times "don't ever blow." She was arrested for OVI. They are offering a reckless op, with one year license suspension, $750 fine, 50 hrs community service, and three day inhouse diversion program. Seems a lot for someone who was not impaired, was driving safely, ( other than speeding), and is dean's list student at OU.  She is in the nursing program, and we are concerned about obtaining a nursing license. Can we ask for a better deal?

Answer:  The one year license suspension is for refusing the breath test; it comes from the BMV not the court, and is imposed even if the Defendant is found not guilty.  There are some ways to get around that, but not often.  Most judges will grant limited driving privileges after 30 days on a refusal, which covers work and school. People frequently think they pass the field tests when in fact they failed. The only statistically valid field test is the HGN (pen in front of eyes).  If she really passed the HGN it's doubtful to me the officer would have filed an OVI charge.  Determining whether to go to trial should be based on an attorney reviewing the evidence and the results of the field tests and video.  Even if she goes to trial and wins, she will likely still have a one year suspension for the refusal.

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