Oklahoma DUI Penalties
HOW BAD WILL IT HURT?
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There are several different crimes in Oklahoma dealing with drinking and driving. The most common is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These two crimes are commonly referred to as DUI or DUI-drugs. The elements of DUI are that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs while operating a motor vehicle on a public road, highway, street, turnpike, other public place, or upon any private road, street, alley or lane which provides access to one or more single or multi-family dwellings.
To prove that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the State must show that you were incapable of safely driving or operating a motor vehicle due to be under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substance. However, in Oklahoma, if you consent to a chemical test (breath or blood) and it shows a breath or blood alcohol level of .08 grams per 210 milliliters, then you are presumed to be under the influence of alcohol.
Driving Under the Influence actually requires driving the motor vehicle. However, if you were not actually driving the vehicle, then you may still be charged with Actual Physical Control of a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs. This crime is commonly referred to as APC.
The elements of APC are being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The definition of actual physical control is the existing or present bodily restraint, directing influence, dominion, or regulation of the motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants. In layman’s terms, being able to start and drive the car. There is case law that states that a person can be in actual physical control of the motor vehicle even when passed out behind the wheel of the car.
Although the car must be operational, it is not necessary that the vehicle be able to move. For example, a vehicle that has high centered or stuck on a curb and the tires just spin would be sufficient for APC if the other elements of the crime are also proven.
A motor vehicle is defined as a vehicle with tires that is powered by a combustible engine. It does not matter if the vehicle has a license plate or is eligible to get a license plate. The term motor vehicle does not include implements of husbandry. Implements of husbandry are vehicles used in farming. For example, a tractor would be an implement of husbandry.
An interesting distinction that the authors have seen is where a person is arrested for DUI on a four-wheeler. If the four-wheeler is equipped with hay bale racks or other farm equipment, then it could be considered an implement of husbandry. However, if the four-wheeler is a racing four-wheeler, it falls under the definition of a motor vehicle for purposes of DUI.
The penalties for DUI and APC are the same. Local municipalities have the authority to determine their own penalties for crimes charged in their municipal court. If your DUI or APC charge is a state charge, then it carries 10 days to one year in the county jail, a fine of up to $1000, court costs, victims impact panel, mandatory alcohol assessment, and completion of all recommended treatment. Additionally, your sentence can include community service hours and installation of an ignition interlock device. As a first time DUI, the charge is a misdemeanor unless there is an accident involved with great bodily injury or a minor child in the car.
If you have been charged with a DUI or APC and have had a prior conviction or deferred sentence for DUI or APC from a Court of Record within 10 years from the completion of the previous sentence (look back time), the new charge will be a felony. If there is only one prior conviction or deferred sentence in the preceding look back time, the punishment is not less than one year and/or 30 days residential treatment and not more than five years in the state penitentiary, a fine of up to $2500, court costs, victim compensation assessment, mandatory alcohol assessment and completion of all recommended treatment. Additionally, the sentence can include community service hours, installation of an ignition interlock device, and attendance at a victim impact panel.
If you have had a prior felony DUI or APC conviction within the preceding look back time, the potential jail time increases to not less than one year to not more than ten years and/or a fine of up to $5000. If you have had two or more prior felony DUI or APC convictions, the jail time further increases to not less than one year to not more than 20 in the state penitentiary and a fine up to $5000. Additionally, on felony charges, the court has the power to order you to submit to electronic monitoring during any term of probation.
Additionally, if your charge is in District Court, the District Attorney almost always requires that a monthly supervision or prosecution fee of $40 per month be paid while on probation for up to two years. Some counties have private third party companies that provide supervision and you will be ordered to pay them $40.oo per month in addition to the $40.00 per month fee to the District Attorney’s office.
Driving While Impaired – DWI
The lesser-included charge of DUI is Driving While Impaired. This charge is commonly known in Oklahoma as DWI. In Oklahoma, this is not as serious of a charge as DUI. In other states like Texas, the acronym DWI stands for driving while intoxicated which is the equivalent of Oklahoma’s DUI. A DWI in Oklahoma requires a chemical test result greater than .05 and less than .08. Additionally, it must be shown that your ability to operate the motor vehicle was impaired.
The punishment for DWI is a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500 and/or up to six months in the county jail.
A DWI will always be a misdemeanor regardless of the number of priors. DWI does not carry a license revocation unless the defendant receives a conviction for DWI. If convicted of DWI, the Department of Public Safety will suspend your driving privileges for 30 days. This 30 day suspension is modifiable. If it is the second DWI conviction, then the suspension period shall be for six months and is not modifiable. On a third DWI conviction, the Department will suspend your driving privileges for one year and it is not modifiable. The statutes also require an alcohol assessment before the plea and completion of any recommended treatment before the license can be reinstated.
DUI Under 21
There is an additional statute that only applies to drivers under the age of 21. Oklahoma holds underage drivers to a higher standard. Persons under the age of 21 and driving with any measurable amount of alcohol can be charged with the crime of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Under the Age of 21. The Oklahoma Board of Tests has defined “any measureable quantity” as a blood or breath alcohol level of .02.
A “DUI Under 21” does not carry jail time and only levies fines, community service hours, installation of an ignition interlock device, and treatment. It does, however, carry the same license consequences as a regular DUI for the first offense. On a second conviction of this statute, your driving privileges are denied for a period of two years or until you turn 18, whichever is longer. A DUI Under 21 charge will always be a misdemeanor and cannot be used to enhance or increase a subsequent DUI to a felony. However, the Department of Public Safety will consider it a prior license suspension for purposes of prior suspensions during the look back period if they are suspended.
CAUTION: This statute does not prevent the State from charging a person under the age of 21 with a regular DUI if you have a breath or blood alcohol level greater than .08. The prosecutor’s decision will determine if the charge is filed as an Under 21 DUI or the more severe DUI statute.
If your breath or blood alcohol level is greater than .15 grams per 2100 milliliters, you can be charged with Aggravated DUI. The fact that you are charged with Aggravated DUI does not change the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony. If you have no prior DUI or APC convictions or deferred sentences from a court of record within the previous look back time, than the charge will still be a misdemeanor.
The difference between a regular DUI and an Aggravated DUI is that an Aggravated DUI conviction requires mandatory 28 days inpatient treatment, a year of follow-up supervision, 480 hours of community service, and installation of an ignition interlock device for a minimum of 30 days.
A caution to parents or anyone who has custody of a child: if arrested for DUI while having a person under the age of 18 in the car, or if a person knowingly permits a child to be in the vehicle when the person knew or should have known that the driver was under the influence—Even a first offense—it can be filed as Felony Child Endangerment and carries up to 4 years in prison and up to $5000 in fines.
DUI with Personal Injury
If you are charged with DUI resulting in an accident involving personal injury, the punishment range changes. In these cases, the minimum jail time increases to not less than 90 days and not more than one year in the county jail and a fine of up to $2500. If it is your second or subsequent conviction for DUI involving personal injury, the charge increases to a felony and is punishable by not less than one year but not more than five years in the state penitentiary and a fine of up to $5000.
DUI with Great Bodily Injury
Regardless of prior convictions, if your DUI involves an accident causing great bodily injury, you can be charged with the felony charge of DUI Involving Great Bodily Injury. This charge carries a punishment of not less than one year but not more than five years in the state penitentiary and a fine of up to $5000. Under some circumstances, it is possible for the State to forfeit or seize your motor vehicle.
When a death results from a driver under the influence, the driver can be charged with Manslaughter, which carries not less than 4 years in the state penitentiary. There is no maximum cap on the number of years a jury could sentence you. If you have a previous conviction or deferred sentence for DUI or APC from a Court of Record within the preceding look back time, then Second Degree Murder, which carries not less than 10 years in the state penitentiary, could be filed against you because the death occurred during the commission of a felony.
A DUI charge carries significant penalties and loss of liberty. It is very important for anybody who is charged with DUI or DUI related crimes to immediately consult and retain a highly qualified DUI attorney.