Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Oklahoma is a serious offense. It poses a threat to public safely because it can lead to traffic accidents, injuries and death.
To convince motorists to drive sober, Oklahoma uses laws to strictly prohibit driving while intoxicated. Drivers who want to avoid this charge need to know what the allowable blood alcohol content levels are and what kinds of penalties that they can face if they are found guilty of DWI in Oklahoma.
DUI in Oklahoma
Oklahoma uses the acronym of DWI for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This acronym stands for Driving While Intoxicated. It involves driving with a blood alcohol content or BAC of 0.08 percent or higher.
The definition also includes driving a motor vehicle with any amount of schedule I controlled substances or illegal drugs in one’s system. The degree of intoxication must be to the extent that the offender can no longer safely operate any kind of motor vehicle.
The standard DWI law in Oklahoma applies to drivers who are at least 21 years of age and older. Motor vehicles include those that are privately owned and not used for commercial purposes.
Commercial drivers in Oklahoma cannot drive with BACs of 0.04 percent or higher. Underage drivers in Oklahoma can be arrested for DWI if they have BACs of 0.02 or higher.
In Oklahoma, it is possible to be charged with a DWI even if the person is not driving a car. The offender simply needs to be found to be in actual physical control of the vehicle. The vehicle itself does not even have to be in motion.
DWI Penalties in Oklahoma
The penalties for DWI in Oklahoma reflect the number of prior DWIs on the person’s driving record. It can also be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the number of DWIs that the offender has within a 10-year period.
A first DWI in Oklahoma is met with penalties like:
- 10 days to one year in jail
- A fine of $10,000
- 180 days’ license revocation
- Use of an ignition interlock device or IID for 18 months if the BAC is 0.15 percent or higher or the offender refused to test
A second DWI offense leads to:
- One to five years in jail
- A fine of up to $2500
- Three years’ license revocation
- Use of an IID for four years
A third DWI conviction in Oklahoma warrants penalties like:
- One to 10 years in jail
- A fine of up to $5000
- Three years’ license revocation
- Use of an IID for five years
A judge presiding over a DWI case has the option of suspending an offender’s jail sentence if the offender agrees to take part in a substance abuse recovery program. The judge has the discretion of choosing whether or not the program should include inpatient or outpatient treatment.
If the offender enrolls in an outpatient program, he or she may still have to serve less than a week in jail. Some DWI offenders also have the option of requesting a modified license during the time that their licenses are suspended. They must participate in the state’s Impaired Driver Accountability Program and continue to use an IID on their vehicles.
Underage DWI in Oklahoma
Drivers under the age of 21 can also be arrested for DWI if they have a detectable BAC at the time of their traffic stop. A first-time underage DWI in Oklahoma can lead to the driver’s license being revoked for up to six months. A second underage DWI results in a license revocation of 12 months while a third conviction leads to the license being revoked for 36 months.
Underage drivers who are younger than 18 and found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol can also lose their driving privileges. The amount of time that they are prohibited from driving can range from six months to three years.
Driving while intoxicated in Oklahoma is a grave offense that results in a wide range of punishments. Many drivers end up losing not only their licenses but also their freedom after they are sentenced to jail. Underage drivers also can incur heavy fines and even serve time behind bars for having any traceable amount of alcohol or drugs on their breath or in their bodies.