Oklahoma DUI Laws, Fines & Penalties

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A person who operates a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, alcohol or a combination of the two runs the risk of a DUI arrest in the state of Oklahoma. These drunk driving charges are usually misdemeanors, however, certain circumstances can turn them into felonies based on prior convictions or other factors, including grave injury or death. A DUI conviction is on the driver's record for 10 years.

Impairment Offenses in Oklahoma

According to the state's Highway Safety Office, driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while impaired (DWI) sometimes mean the same thing, but they have slightly different meanings in Oklahoma. DWI applies to a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 to 0.08 percent. However, law enforcement must present additional evidence of the driver's inability to operate a vehicle safely and show that they threatened the health and safety of others or that they are in violation of a state statute or local ordinance at the time of the arrest.

Oklahoma follows the rest of the country in how it defines DUI. A person who drives, or is in actual control of, a vehicle while impaired faces arrest if they have a BAC level over the state's legal limit of 0.08 percent within two hours of the arrest. Schedule 1 controlled substances or other drugs that cause impairment can also lead to arrest if found in the blood, saliva or urine within two hours of the traffic stop.

Under Oklahoma law, the driver also faces impairment charges if they were impaired and operated a vehicle on a road or other area accessed by the public, such as a parking lot, or operated a vehicle on a private road, in an alley or drive leading to one or more residences.

First-Offense Penalties

According to NOLO, drivers with their first DUI conviction, a misdemeanor, face these penalties:

  • 10 days to one-year incarceration in a jail, a substance abuse center or a treatment program through the Department of Corrections. The court can also defer this sentence if the offender meets certain restrictions, including not consuming drugs or alcohol and participating in random testing.
  • Maximum $1,000 fine, plus court costs and other fees. This will double if there was a minor passenger in the vehicle at the time of the arrest.
  • A drug and alcohol evaluation and possible inpatient treatment, classes and other substance abuse intervention measures.

There will be administrative penalties, as well. The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety suspends a first-time offender's driving privileges for 180 days. The offender can apply for a modified license through the state's Impaired Driver Accountability Program, which requires the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). The driver won't see the reinstatement of their license until they fulfill all court requirements.

Second-Offense Penalties

Drivers with their second DUI conviction face felony charges if the second charge occurs within 10 years of the prior DUI. Charges include:

  • Minimum one year of jail time in a Department of Corrections facility, a substance abuse center or a treatment program. The court can defer this sentence if the offender meets certain restrictions, including not consuming drugs or alcohol and participating in random testing.
  • Maximum $2,500 fine, plus court costs and other fees. This doubles if there was a minor passenger in the vehicle at the time of the arrest.
  • Drug and alcohol evaluation and possible inpatient treatment, classes and other substance abuse intervention measures.

The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety will suspend the offender's license for one year. They can apply for a modified license through the state's Impaired Driver Accountability Program, which requires the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). The driver won't see the reinstatement of their license until they fulfill all court requirements.

Third-Offense Penalties

A third-offense DUI is a felony if it occurs within 10 years of the first two convictions and carries these charges:

  • One- to 10-year incarceration in a Department of Corrections facility, a substance abuse center or a treatment program. The court can defer this sentence if the offender meets certain restrictions, including not consuming drugs or alcohol and participating in random testing.
  • Maximum $5,000 fine, plus court costs and other fees. This will double if there was a minor passenger in the vehicle at the time of the arrest.
  • Drug and alcohol evaluation and possible inpatient treatment, classes and other substance abuse intervention measures.
  • 240 hours of community service.
  • IID installation for a maximum of two years.

The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety will suspend the offender's license for three years. They can apply for a modified license through the state's Impaired Driver Accountability Program. The driver won't see the reinstatement of their license until they fulfill all court requirements.

Aggravated DUI in Oklahoma

According to Law Info, an offender with a BAC of 0.15 percent or greater will receive an aggravated DUI charge, which can occur even with a first offense. Aggravated circumstances also apply to DWI charges. While the penalties are the same as those for a standard DUI – one to 10 years of incarceration and a fine of $1,000 to $5,000 – there are additional penalties.

A driver convicted of aggravated DUI faces:

  • Mandatory participation in a 30-day in­patient substance abuse treatment.
  • 480 hours of community service.
  • Aftercare meetings for up to one year.
  • IID installation for a minimum of 30 days.

Defining Factors in Felony DUIs

Aggravated and felony DUI are two different charges. Aggravated DUI is generally a misdemeanor, however, a few circumstances can make a DUI into a felony offense, according to Oklahoma City attorney, Edward L. Kelly. They are:

  • DUI conviction within 10 years of one or more convictions.
  • Accident that causes serious injury or death.
  • Having a minor in the vehicle while impaired during a traffic stop.

The penalties for these extenuating circumstances include:

  • Maximum $5,000 fine.
  • One to 20 years in prison.
  • IID installation for up to eight years.
  • Three-year license revocation.
  • Mandatory substance abuse treatment.
  • Community service.

CDL Drivers and DUI Offenses

An offender licensed to drive a commercial vehicle who drives while impaired not only faces the immediate suspension of their license but could lose the ability to work for months or even a lifetime. Drivers holding a commercial driver's license (CDL) who have a BAC of 0.04 percent or greater when stopped by law enforcement will face conviction.

While the fines and jail sentences are the same as those for a regular DUI, a convicted CDL driver will see their a one year license revocation period. A second conviction can result in a lifetime driver's license revocation. These penalties apply even if law enforcement stops the impaired CDL driver in a noncommercial vehicle. Drivers carrying hazardous materials face a three-year CDL suspension for a first offense, while a second offense carries a lifetime ban.

Minor DUI and Penalties

Drivers under 21 face DUI charges if they drive, or are in actual physical control of, a vehicle under these circumstances if they:

  • Have any amount of alcohol in their system as measured by a blood or breath test within two hours of a traffic stop.
  • Have any drugs in their system per a chemical test of blood, breath, saliva or urine.
  • Show impairment from a combination of drugs and alcohol.

Oklahoma's zero tolerance law makes any underage drinking a crime. A conviction carries these penalties:

  • First offense: Fine of $100 to $1,000; 20 hours of community service; attendance and completion of a substance abuse treatment program as determined by the court; six-month license suspension.
  • Second offense: Fine of $100 to $1,000; 240 hours of community service; alcohol or drug screening and completion of a substance abuse treatment program as determined by the court; one-year license suspension.
  • Third offense: Fine of $100 to $2,000; 480 hours of community service; alcohol or drug screening and completion of a substance abuse treatment program as determined by the court; two-year license suspension.

Implied Consent Law and Penalties

Drivers automatically give consent for a chemical test when they first get behind the wheel. A person refusing law enforcement's request for a blood, breath or urine test violates the state's implied consent law. The arresting officer will ask for a chemical test in the event of an accident fatality. If a driver is unconscious, law enforcement can request a blood draw to determine a driver's blood alcohol concentration.

Drivers who violate the implied consent law will see their license immediately suspended for 180 days to three years. The court may modify the sentence with the installation of an IID. An implied consent charge is a different charge than that of a DUI – even if there is no DUI conviction, a driver can still face administrative penalties for refusing a chemical test.

Open Container Law and Penalties

Transporting an open container of alcohol, such as an "intoxicating beverage" or "low-point beer" in the central area of a vehicle can result in steep penalties. Oklahoma defines an intoxicating beverage as that which is more than 3.2 percent of alcohol by weight; low-point beer is a beverage with between 0.5 and 3.2 percent alcohol by volume, including beer and malt beverages.

An open container violation is a misdemeanor. Penalties include a fine of up to $500, with an additional $100 assessment for the state's Trauma Care Assistance Revolving Fund and six months in jail. It is also against public intoxication laws for passengers to consume alcohol in most vehicles, with penalties of a $10 to $100 fine and five to 30 days in jail.

Open Container Exemptions

A driver can transport alcohol under certain exceptions. For example, they can store intoxicating beverages or low-point beer in the trunk or another rear compartment, such as a spare tire or outside compartment, provided it is inaccessible by the driver and passengers while the car is in motion. Passengers can also possess an open container of alcohol in vehicles for hire, such as cabs, buses or limousines.

Vehicle-for-hire operators face open container penalties if the beverage is within reach or possession of the driver or if passengers hire the service to knowingly transport minors who possess or drink alcohol. For the first offense, the fine is at least $500; drivers with a second offense face mandatory revocation of their license. The company owner can also see fines and lose their license to operate their business for up to a year.