Oklahoma is one of the “zero tolerance” states when it comes to driving under the influence before the legal drinking age. Thus, if you are under the age of 21, you can potentially be convicted of driving under the influence if you have a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC of more than .00 percent. For individuals over the age of 21, the BAC limit is .08 percent, but it drops down to just .04 percent for commercial drivers. In some cases, a DUI can be plea bargained down to a “wet reckless” charge, which is reckless driving with alcohol.
Oklahoma DUI laws also include an “open container law,” which prohibits keeping an open container of alcohol any place that is accessible to the driver. Thus, your passenger can’t be drinking in the seat beside you.
Implied Consent Law
Like many states, Oklahoma DUI laws include an implied consent law that stipulates if an arresting officer has probable cause to believe you are driving under the influence, he or she can subject you to a chemical test of your breath or blood for alcohol or of your saliva or urine if drug use is suspected within two hours of the time you were pulled over. You imply your consent to a chemical test simply by driving on a public road. Consequently, you cannot refuse to take the test without incurring a penalty.
The first time you refuse to a chemical test, your license will be revoked for six months, and an ignition interlock device will be installed on your car for eighteen months. This means you will not be able to start your car at all unless you first blow into and pass a breath test.
If a DUI is your second offense and you refuse the test, then your license will be revoked for one full year. Upon a third refusal, the revocation period increases to three years.
Under Oklahoma DUI laws, your second offense will be treated as a felony DUI if it happens not more than 10 years after your last DUI conviction. All subsequent DUI offenses will also be charged as felonies. Your second offense carries a penalty of one to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Fines and prison time increase for subsequent convictions.
When determining whether this is your first, second, third, or subsequent DUI offense, the court will “look back” at your DUIs for only the past 10 years. After a decade has elapsed, a DUI is “washed out” from your record for purposes of sentencing.
Changes to Oklahoma DUI Laws in 2010 in 2013
Over the past few years, Oklahoma has toughened its laws regarding driving under the influence. The Aaron Gillming Act, or House Bill 3240, was passed by the Oklahoma state legislature in 2010 and went into effect on Nov. 1, 2010. The bill, which was named after a victim of drunk driving, mandates that any drivers convicted of driving under the influence complete a substance abuse program for drugs and alcohol. This requirement applies even to first-time offenders. In 2013, Oklahoma also imposed its “zero tolerance” standard for underage drinkers who drink and drive.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Oklahoma?
Alcohol-related driving offenses are taken very seriously in Oklahoma, and state authorities aggressively prosecute people who are arrested and charged. Just as in locations throughout the United States, the legal alcohol limit in Oklahoma is .08 percent. While this is the case, it is possible for police to file charges against individuals who are not at or above this blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
Depending upon the circumstance of a driving under the influence (DUI) arrest, there are different charges that may be filed. Offenses may include:
- Driving under the influence (DUI). This is the standard charge for an arrest resulting from a BAC of .08 percent or greater.
- Driving while impaired. This offense may be charged if a person demonstrates impairment with a BAC of .06 or .07 percent.
- DUI under 21. This designation, which applies to individuals not of legal drinking age, can be charged with a BAC of .02 or greater.
- Commercial driver DUI. Driving under the influence charges can be filed against commercial drivers for a BAC of .04 or greater.
The penalties ultimately levied against convicted individuals will depend upon the perceived seriousness of the case. For instance, drivers prosecuted for aggravated DUI – which can be charged with a BAC of .15 percent or greater – typically face more severe punishments.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In Oklahoma
In addition to potential jail time, license suspension and fines, mandatory compliance with ignition interlock is another DUI consequence many people face. This penalty requires that an individual install an ignition interlock device (IID), which is a piece of equipment that requires a passing breath test in order to start a vehicle.
In Oklahoma, it’s typically necessary to install an IID when:
- A person is convicted of aggravated DUI.
- An individual is found guilty of a second or subsequent DWI offense.
An ignition interlock device must be installed and maintained at the expense of the convicted individual. A state-authorized provider must perform this work.
Oklahoma DUI Penalties
Drivers in Oklahoma may be charged with a DUI and face Oklahoma DUI penalties if they operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above .08 percent. This limit drops to .04 percent for commercial drivers. For drivers under the age of 21, Oklahoma is a zero tolerance state, which means that any detectable amount of alcohol in the blood while driving is grounds for a DUI charge. Oklahoma also has a zero tolerance policy toward any controlled substance in the blood while driving.
The state also enacted a controversial new law in 2013 penalizing drivers with any detectable amount of THC in their system regardless of whether or not the individual is impaired or even used marijuana, of which THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient, days or even weeks prior to being stopped by police.
As of 2010, all drivers convicted of a DUI — even if it is a first offense — will have to attend a mandatory program of substance abuse evaluation and treatment as part of increasingly toughened Oklahoma DUI penalties.
The status of the DUI depends on the length of the prison sentence, if any. Oklahoma law regards any sentence of one year or greater to accompany a felony. If the sentence is less than one year or there is no incarceration, the offense is considered a misdemeanor.
The look-back period for multiple offenses in Oklahoma is 10 years.
Penalties for a 1st DUI Offense
A first offense in Oklahoma will cost a driver his or her license for 30 days. The person may face a potential jail term of between five days and one year, which can increase up to four years if there is a minor under the age of 18 present in the person’s vehicle at the time of the DUI stop. The penalties for a first offense also include a fine that ranges from $500 to $1,000 that is doubled if a minor under the age of 18 is present. In addition to the fine, there is a mandatory DUI fee of at least $300.
Under the Erin Swezey Act of 2011, even first-time DUI offenders may have to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles at their own expense if their BAC exceeded .14 percent.
Penalties for a 2nd DUI Offense
A second DUI conviction in Oklahoma results in a license suspension for six months. The driver may also be ordered to use an ignition interlock device for a period of time after the suspension. The jail sentence ranges from one to five years, but some of the sentence may be served in a treatment program. The fine for a second DUI can be as much as $2,500, and this is doubled if a minor under the age of 18 was present in the vehicle at the time of the DUI stop.
Penalties for a 3rd and Subsequent DUI Offense
Any DUI conviction beyond the second in Oklahoma results in a sentence of one to 20 years, a fine up to $2,500 (doubled if a minor under 18 was present in the vehicle), a license suspension of one year, a period of mandatory ignition interlock device use after the jail time and suspension have been served, 480 hours of community service and one year of supervision and substance testing.
Penalties for Refusal of Testing
If a driver refuses to take a substance test after being pulled over, his or her license will be automatically suspended for six months. A second refusal results in a suspension of one year while a third refusal results in a suspension period of three years. A driver may also be ordered to use an ignition interlock device for a period of 18 months solely on the basis of a refusal.