Oklahoma Actual Physical Control Penalties

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Question: What is actual physical control and what are the penalties for it in Oklahoma?

Answer: Actual physical control is, to sum it up easily, is a non-driving DUI. If someone has actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, that’s where this charge will come in. And the courts have found and held that this particular charge is there because they don’t want somebody that can basically sit up in the car, put the car in gear and take off and enter the flow of traffic while under the influence of alcohol.

Now there are several requirements for somebody to be found in actual physical control or for actual physical control to be a crime. Number one, they have to be where they can operate the vehicle. If somebody is in the passenger seat or somebody is in the back seat, they’re not going to be found to be in actual physical control.

If they don’t have control of the keys, if the keys are not in the ignition or within the person’s immediate grab area where they can reach them easily, they can’t find them to be in actual physical control. Now, that does not mean that with these new cars that have the push-button start, if the key or the key fob is in the cab area of where the car will start, then they’re going to be subject to the actual physical control law.

As far as penalties, the penalties for actual physical control are exactly the same as they are with DUI. With actual physical control, the only difference being that actual physical control is not considered aggravated—there is no provision for an aggravated actual physical control charge.

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