When you go out for entertainment or dinner, do you consume alcoholic drinks? Many people do, and of course, a designated driver is always a good idea. If you are pulled over, it doesn’t take much alcohol to be over the legal limit.
In Oklahoma, if your blood alcohol level is 0.8 or higher, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle. If you do so, and you are caught, you will be charged with Driving Under the Influence. We’ll explain what this means and what can happen. Some people do not know that if your blood alcohol level is 5.0 or higher, you could be charged with Driving While Impaired. In either case, a prosecutor will do his or her best to prove that your ability to drive safely and properly was affected by alcohol consumption.
Another law we have in Oklahoma is the Implied Consent Law. This means that if you are pulled over and an officer asks you to submit to one or more chemical alcohol tests, you are supposed to, and fully expected to, submit to those tests. If you refuse, you are violating the Implied Consent Law and this means substantial penalties.
Penalties for a first offiense in these cases are lighter than for repeat offenders. If you haven’t been convicted of a DUI or Impaired Driving in the past 10 years, you will be considered a first time offender. Note: Upon being charged with DUI (upon being arrested), your driver’s license is automatically revoked. No exceptions. Oklahoma is one of 42 states that implements immediate confiscation of your license at the scene.
Later you may be found not guilty of the DUI but that doesn’t change the revocation. In some cases, an offender is able to get the revocation changed to limited driving privileges (for ex. commuting to work only), with ignition interlock restriction. This equipment directly connects you to the monitoring body and ensures you do not drive anywhere other than permitted, with absolutely no alcohol in your system.
Note that someone having their license taken will be given a 15-day grace period during which you are able to drive. This “grace period” gives the person 15 days to challenge their case. Not all DUI cases lead to conviction. Sometimes a case can successfully be contested, typically (and wisely) through the use of an experienced attorney.
In our personal injury practice, we see the results of impaired and drunk driving, as well as distracted driving (cell phone use being the top offender). We share the information on Oklahoma’s driving laws to help you understand them and follow them, keeping our roads safer for all who use them. Next time, in Part Two of this subject, we will share more information about DUI and Speeding Laws and penalties in our state.