Just like any fateful event, that one time that an officer pulls you over after you’ve had a few drinks can seem like a never-ending nightmare of consequences. Regret over what happened can snowball into a hopeless acceptance of charges and penalties. Before you know it, aggressive law enforcement will impose harsh and often unjustified penalties that are difficult to fight.
For Oklahoma drivers in Norman and surrounding communities, a strong defense will go on offense to question the accuracy of the chemical or breath test, or to find out if the officer had probable cause or followed proper procedures during the arrest. Fighting the charges can mean reducing the penalties and minimizing the damage that could result from a conviction.
How drunk driving charges can stay with you
Although drunk driving penalties vary according to state laws, DUI penalties are strict and can result in fines, time behind bars and a loss of driving privileges. Even with a plea bargain that results in probation, the probationary period can last longer than a jail sentence, and a violation of probation may result in jail time anyway.
A DUI can result in license revocation of up to six months to a year, even for a first offender. During this time the individual would have to find a means of transportation to get to work or school, run errands, or take the children to activities, school, or doctor’s appointments.
If the penalties result in the installation of a mandatory ignition interlock device (IID), the driver must submit an alcohol-free breath sample to even start the car. The driver may have to pay for its installation, monitoring and calibrating fees, as well as a security deposit or device insurance fee.
Whether the DUI results in a misdemeanor or a felony, many people do not realize until too late that drunk driving is a criminal offense that will remain on their record for a long time. A routine background check can reveal this information, preventing the individual from future employment opportunities or from filling out a mortgage or loan application.
Penalties in Oklahoma
Under Oklahoma laws, an officer may charge a driver for driving under the influence (DUI) if a blood or chemical test shows a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, or for driving while impaired (DWI) with a BAC of 0.05% to 0.08%. The test may reveal alcohol or other impairment such as a Schedule I chemical or controlled substance.
There are also enhanced penalties if the BAC was 0.15% or higher, and zero tolerance of 0.00% for underage drivers. A first offender will receive DUI penalties that may include:
- License suspension of 30 days to one year.
- Mandatory alcohol education, assessment and treatment
- Possible vehicle confiscation
- Ignition interlock device
Under Oklahoma implied consent laws, the driver must submit to a BAC test or face civil penalties that include immediate license revocation of up to 180 days for a first offense.