Operating a motor vehicle is a risky thing to do. Often weighing several tons and moving at high speeds, a vehicle accident can have devastating effects. Because of the potential for so much damage and the risk that is present every time a person drives, many laws have been established to ensure that people operating vehicles are alert and focused on the task at hand.
Unfortunately, not ever driver is always so alert. While even a minor distraction can have serious consequences, operating a vehicle while intoxicated can be disastrous. As such, the state of Oklahoma has established strict penalties for individuals who are found to be driving while intoxicated.
DUI vs. DWI
The state of Oklahoma makes a point to differentiate between DUIs ("driving under the influence") and DWIs ("driving while intoxicated"). Whether a person can be charged with a DUI or a DWI depends on their blood alcohol content (BAC).
· DUI - If a person has a BAC of 0.08 or more, they are legally considered to be driving while under the influence.
· DWI - If a person has a BAC below 0.08, but above 0.051, they are legally considered to be driving while intoxicated. This is not a charge by itself. There must be additional charges for a conviction.
It should also be noted that alcohol is not the only intoxicant that can cause a person to be charged with a DUI. Impairment due to any intoxicating substance is potentially cause for a charge.
Oklahoma takes impaired driving very seriously and the state laws reflect this attitude. The severity of the punishment for DUI convictions increases with the number of charges.
· First offense
If someone is charged with a DUI for the first time, it could result in a fine of up to $1,000, a jail sentence between 10 days and 1 year and having their license revoked for up to 6 months. They could also be required to install an interlock ignition device (IID) in their vehicles.
· Second offense
A second DUI conviction can result in a $2,500 fine, a jail sentence of between 1 and 5 years and their license revoked for a year. An IID may also be required.
· Additional offenses
If a person is convicted of more than two DUIs within 5 years, they may face up to 10 years in jail and a $5,000 fine. Their license will also be revoked for 3 years and they will have to install IIDs in all of the vehicles they use for 3 year once they get their license back.
Any kind of charge regarding driving while intoxicated can have a very serious impact on the rest of a person's life. These types of charges should not be treated lightly. If you are confronted with such a charge, it is highly recommended that you obtain the services of an experienced legal professional.