The penalties for an alcohol-related driving offense in Oklahoma can vary greatly, depending on several factors. First, different types of charges—such as driving under the influence (DUI), driving while impaired (DWI), actual physical control (APC), child endangerment resulting from DUI, and manslaughter—may result in penalties of varying degrees. Other factors determining punishments include the level of intoxication (BAC), prior DUI offenses on your record, and whether the charges are filed in municipal or district court.
Below are some common DUI charges and their potential penalties. These apply to the criminal side of the case and not the driver’s license penalties.
Driving Under the influence (DUI)
If your DUI is filed in a municipal (city) court, you could face up to six months in jail and/or a monetary fine of up to $1,200, depending on the municipality. DUIs filed in a state district court usually carry longer jail sentences and higher fines.
If it is your first DUI, your charge will usually be filed as a misdemeanor, provided no one was injured and there wasn’t a minor in the vehicle. Conviction of misdemeanor DUI in state court carries a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time between 10 days and one year. Conviction can generally be avoided on most first time misdemeanors.
If you have had a previous DUI or APC charge, you may be charged with a felony DUI. The prior or predicate offense must have been for DUI or APC and the new arrest must occur within 10 years from the end of any previous deferred sentence, suspended sentence, completion of jail time or conviction date. The predicate offense must also have occurred in a court of record; priors from small municipal courts like Valley Brook or Del City would not count as a predicate. The only two municipal courts of records in Oklahoma are Tulsa and Oklahoma City Municipal Courts. There is case law that prevents them using a deferred sentence prior to November 11, 2011 as a predicate offense.
If it is your first felony offense (DUI AFC), the penalty carries a minimum of one year to five years in the state penitentiary and/or a fine of up to $2500. If it is your second felony offense (DUI AFCF), the charge carries a minimum of one year up to 10 years and/or a fine up to $5000.00. If it is your third or subsequent felony offense within the look back period, the penalty is minimum one year to a maximum of 20 years and/or fine up to $5000.
Actual Physical Control (APC)
In Oklahoma, APC is interchangeable with DUI as far as penalties and enhancements. The only difference is that APC does not have the element of operating the vehicle. If you have the ability to operate the vehicle, than you can be charged and found guilty of APC. There are not any clear cut rules on what “ability to operate a car” entails. We have had clients that were charged with this offense while the keys were sitting in the passenger seat. The judge and the prosecutor thought this was enough but a jury disagreed delivering a not guilty verdict for our client in an astounding 13 minutes.
If your blood alcohol content is shown to be .15% or higher, you may be charged with aggravated DUI. The fact that you had a BAC of .15 or higher does NOT upgrade your charge to a felony; however, an aggravated DUI does incur additional penalties, such as required installation of an ignition interlock device and periodic treatment during the probation period. A BAC of .15 or higher can also result in you having to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle under the Erin Swezey Act.
Driving While Impaired (DWI)
If your BAC is shown to be .06 or .07, you may be charged with DWI. If the charge is filed in municipal court, it will carry a fine and possible jail time. In a state district court, DWI will generally carry a stiffer fine of up to $500 and/or up to six months in jail. A DWI in Oklahoma is not the same as a DWI in Texas. The Texas DWI is Driving While Intoxicated and is the equivalent of an Oklahoma DUI charge. In Oklahoma, a DWI is a lesser charge and is always a misdemeanor. Additionally, a DWI in Oklahoma doesn’t carry any automatic license suspension unless you take a DWI conviction.
Aside from fines and potential jail time, a DUI conviction may result in mandatory drug/alcohol training, attendance of a Victim Impact panel (VIP), community service, AA meetings, probation fees, and completion of DUI School.
Every DUI case is unique. If you have been charged with any alcohol-related driving offense, you should contact the experienced DUI defense attorneys at the Hunsucker Legal Group who can counsel you on what penalties you may face and what strategy you should use in fighting the charge.
Don’t leave your case to chance. Call the Hunsucker Legal Group in Oklahoma City at 405-231-5600 to schedule a free consultation today.
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