In order to be arrested for DUI, you must be operating a motor vehicle while under the influence. Under the law, this means that you were actually driving the car while intoxicated. However, in Oklahoma you can be arrested for simply having actual physical control of the motor vehicle, or having the ability to operate the motor vehicle—by having the keys or being inside of the vehicle— while you were above the legal limit or under the influence of alcohol or intoxicants. This charge is called actual physical control, or APC for short.
Generally speaking, APC is the same as DUI and the consequences are the same. A first-time APC conviction will usually be a misdemeanor offense as long as you have no prior DUI or APC predicate offenses on your record. The penalties for misdemeanor APC include a minimum of 10 days in jail and a maximum jail sentence of one year. You may also pay up to $1,000 in fines if convicted of misdemeanor APC.
If you are convicted of a second APC within 10 years of the completion of the predicate DUI or APC sentence the charge will be automatically elevated to a felony, which carries much stiffer penalties than a misdemeanor. For a first-time felony APC or DUI conviction, you could face a minimum of one year up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. There are certain requirements that must be met before a prior offense may be used for a predicate.
As with a DUI charge, an APC charge actually results in two separate actions: one criminal charge and one civil action against your driving privileges. The civil action is carried out by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS), the same agency that issues driver’s licenses.
If you are charged with APC, you must contact the DPS within 30 days of being arrested to schedule an administrative hearing. The DPS is solely concerned with whether the Board of Test rules were followed during arrest and chemical testing or whether the refusal of the chemical test was valid when you were arrested; the DPS has nothing to do with the criminal charge of APC.
If the administrative hearing is not requested within 30 days of your arrest, your chance to have the hearing will be forfeited and your license will be automatically suspended on the 30th day for a period of no less than six months.
If you have been arrested for DUI or APC in Oklahoma, call the Hunsucker Legal Group at 405-231-5600 to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation.
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