There’s a good reason why driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offense in all U.S. states, including Oklahoma. An intoxicated driver would be too impaired to properly operate their vehicle, so they become a danger to themselves and others.
While an officer can catch an impaired driver and cite them for DUI before anything happens, there may be occasions when a drunk driver manages to cause an accident that harms another. When this occurs, an officer present at the scene can charge the intoxicated motorist with DUI and for being involved in a personal injury accident while intoxicated.
DUI leading to personal injury accident
Under Oklahoma law, a person who violates the state’s DUI laws and is involved in a personal injury accident arising from impaired driving commits an additional offense. This offense is for being involved in a personal accident while impaired. The term “personal injury accident” refers to any accident or injury caused by the negligent or wrongful act of another person, including drunk drivers.
Essentially, if an impaired person causes a driving accident that leads to another’s injury – an injury the other can pursue civil action over against the impaired driver – that person violates this specific DUI law.
This offense is a misdemeanor for a first conviction, punishable by up to a year in county jail and $2,500 in fines. A second or subsequent conviction leads to the offense becoming a felony, which carries up to five years of prison time and $5,000 in fines.
DUI causing great bodily injury
If the DUI-related accident caused particularly grievous injuries to another, the drunk driver responsible could also face added charges for causing “great bodily injury.”
Great bodily injury, according to law, is a type of bodily injury that creates a “substantial risk of death” or leads to permanent disfigurement. A conviction for violating this law is a felony. On conviction, a person faces up to 20 years of prison and $5,000 in fines.
A driver can face these two charges separately.
DUIs lead to severe enough penalties on their own, but a DUI incident that leads to injuries can be more costly to accused drivers. If you’re one of these drivers, consider consulting a legal professional. An attorney can help you navigate the complicated court hearing process and ensure your rights are protected.