It's autumn in Oklahoma City. You're taking your kids out to the pumpkin patch after work for an evening of Jack-O-Lanterns, corn mazes, and hayrides. But before going home, you take a detour at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill for some seasonal pumpkin ale.
One beer became five and a few whiskey shots. You shouldn't drive, but you can't let the kids down. You stagger to your motorcycle and head down East Reno Avenue. You're speeding to get home and fly past one of the "boys in blue." Oklahoma City PD pulls you over and, suspecting alcohol may be at play, he asks you to take some tests where you stand on one foot. Since you stumbled during the test, you're arrested and brought to the Oklahoma Detention Center for booking and a chemical test. You take the breath test and fail miserably.
If you committed a felony, you'll spend some time in jail until your arraignment. At the arraignment, a judge will inform you of the charges and set bail. She may impose additional conditions, such as alcohol testing. You will enter a plea of not guilty, guilty, or no contest. You can hire a lawyer, represent yourself, or ask for a public defender.
What about my driver's license?
As part of the DUI prosecution, the State will initiate a civil action against your driving privileges. This is separate from the criminal case. The Department of Public Safety will revoke your license 30 days from the date you were arrested unless you act quickly. You'll only have 15 days to contact DPS and request a hearing. You may wish to contact an attorney to understand the sensitive time limitations. If you don't, your license can be suspended anywhere from six months to three years.
What if I refused a chemical test?
If you refused a blood or breath test, there's a penalty. Oklahoma has an implied consent law. If you're arrested and refuse to take the chemical test, you'll be fined and the DPS will automatically suspend your license for 180 days for the first refusal. This is in addition to any penalties you'll receive if you are convicted in the criminal case.
Oklahoma DUI Charges
Oklahoma has a variety of way to charge drivers who are impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
You can violate this law three separate ways:
Driving While Impaired (DWI)
If your test results show a BAC of even a .06 or .07%, you can be charged with DWI.
There are enhanced penalties if your chemical test shows a BAC of .15% or higher. These penalties include installation of an interlock device on your car and periodic treatment throughout probation if convicted.
Under Age 21 DUI
Oklahoma has zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving. If your BAC is .02% or higher, there are consequences: a fine, community service, and a revoked license. If your BAC is over a .08% or higher, the prosecutor can charge you with a standard DUI.
Actual Physical Control (APC)
You don't have to be driving to violate the law. Say you are drunk, sitting in the driver's seat, but parked on the street. Sorry, that's illegal. You'll face the same penalties as a DUI.
Is a DUI offense in Oklahoma a misdemeanor or felony charge?
In Oklahoma, a first DUI conviction within a 10-year period is a misdemeanor charge. If you have a prior DUI conviction within the past 10 years, a second DUI is a felony offense.
Preliminary Hearing (Felony Only)
You have a right to a preliminary hearing within ten days of your arraignment. This isn't the trial. It's a hearing to show there's probable cause to believe you committed a felony. The prosecutor will call witnesses to testify under oath. Your attorney can cross-examine them. If the judge binds you over for trial, new dates will be set for the superior court arraignment and trial.
You've rejected any plea deals by the prosecutor and want to go to trial. At trial, the State must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. An Oklahoma misdemeanor jury will consist of six people. An Oklahoma felony jury will consist of twelve people. Trials can be very complex and consulting with an experienced DUI attorney is highly advisable, arguably well before this stage.
Will a Oklahoma DUI conviction go on my driving record?
Yes. A DUI, DWI, or APC conviction will go on your Oklahoma driving record and remain indefinitely.
If I'm convicted or plead, what about my insurance?
If you are convicted of DUI or DWI, one of two things will likely happen. Either your Oklahoma insurance company will raise your rates or your policy could be cancelled or not renewed.
Remember, it's best to never drink or use drugs and drive. Select a designated driver ahead of time who will stay sober. You can also ask someone else to give you a ride, call a taxi, or use public transportation. Just about any option is better than getting behind the wheel while impaired.
Contact a qualified attorney.