Many adults may have a drink with dinner when eating out or have a cocktail at a party before driving home. It may not seem like a big deal, but if you get stopped for DUI, you might be in big trouble. Oklahoma has a set legal limit for blood alcohol content or BAC. A driver with a BAC over .08% is intoxicated under Oklahoma law, but drivers with lower BAC can still be charged with impaired driving. Additionally, drivers under the age of 21 may be charged with a DUI if their BAC indicates any alcohol content. As with most legal issues, prevention is easier than correction so the best course of action is to always avoid drinking and driving.
What is a DUI?
A DUI is the criminal act of driving under the influence of alcohol. You may be stopped by police if they notice irregular or erratic driving. Also you could be investigated for DUI if you exhibit suspicious behavior during a routine stop or after an accident. Police may ask you questions about what or how much you have had to drink. They may request that you step out of the car and perform field sobriety tests (which you have the right to refuse). They may even ask you to submit to chemical testing including a breathalyzer test.
DUI Court Appearances and Sentencing
If you are charged with a DUI, you will make a court appearance for a judge or jury to hear your case, and if convicted, you will face a number penalties during sentencing. Additionally, if this is not your first time offense, the penalties can be much harsher. The court can look back ten years to see if you have other DUIs in your record.
There are a variety of penalties you may be facing as the result of a DUI. No matter what your sentence is, you must be careful to fulfill all of the requirements as laid out by the court. These penalties may include:
- DUI school and alcohol treatment – Both first-time and repeat offenders are often sentenced to complete a course in alcohol and driving safety. There are many courses, so you will need to make sure that the course you take meets the requirements outlined by the court.
- Car impounded – This is more of a temporary inconvenience than a permanent situation. An impounded car must be bailed out, and the fines can be quite steep depending on the length of time that the car is impounded. The court may also require that the vehicle be fitted with an ignition interlock device before it is released.
- Ignition interlock device – An IID works like a breathalyzer, but it is connected to the vehicle. It requires the driver to breathe into the device prior to starting the vehicle. If the IID reads the driver’s BAC to be above a set limit, the vehicle will not start. In almost all cases, the driver requiring the IID is responsible for the cost of the IID.
- Habitual offender penalties – All persons convicted of DUIs will face fines and jail time, but for habitual offenders, these penalties can be much steeper. The usual fine for a first time DUI offense in Oklahoma is $1000, but a third DUI can have a fine of up to $5000. Additionally, a first-time DUI might land the driver in jail for 5 days to 1 year, but a third-time offense has a jail sentence of 1 year to 10 years. Drivers with a DUI already on their record should be especially careful in avoiding further offenses.
Get Legal Help
If you are facing DUI charges, you should speak to a criminal defense attorney about your case and legal options. To discuss your case, contact the attorneys at Brown & Gould, PLLC by calling 405-235-4500 today. We are glad to schedule evening or weekend appointments for the convenience of our clients.