What is the Difference between a DUI and a DWI?
A DUI is a crime that means “driving under the influence.” Influence in this context can mean alcohol, drugs, or substances which impair a driver’s ability to safely drive, to the point where the driver’s BAC level is above a 0.08.
A DWI, on the other hand, means “driving while impaired” and occurs when a person has a BAC of 0.06 or 0.07. This means that, while there is not a presumption of intoxication, the driver can still be charged with a crime if the circumstances reveal that the driver was still too impaired to safely drive.
What are the Legal Limits?
For licensed Oklahoma drivers over the age of 21, an adult may have some alcohol and still be considered okay to drive. Oklahoma statutes use the following guidelines to determine impairment:
With a BAC between 0.001 and 0.05, you are legal to drive because it does not indicate intoxication, under Oklahoma law. If a person is driving recklessly, they may be charged with reckless endangerment or another traffic offense, but will not be charged with a DUI offense.
A BAC between 0.051 and 0.079 is evidence of impairment, but more evidence is necessary for a person to be convicted of a DWI. A DWI is possible, but not guaranteed with this BAC, and there is not a presumption of intoxication.
A BAC level of 0.08 or higher is considered and presumed intoxicated. In Oklahoma, it is illegal to drive or operate a motor vehicle with a BAC level of 0.08 or higher because Oklahoma law presumes the driver incapable of safely driving.
If a person is under the influence of any Schedule I drug or narcotic, they will be determined to be incapable of driving safely and can be charged with a DUI offense.
A person who is under the age of 21 is considered incapable of safely driving at any BAC level.
Getting Pulled Over for DUI
Can I get in Trouble if the car isn’t moving?
Yes. If you are in Oklahoma and you are intoxicated, do not get behind the wheel of a vehicle, because even if the car is not moving, you can still get charged with an offense. This is because Oklahoma’s drunk driving laws do not allow you to be in actual physical control of a vehicle while you are intoxicated. Even if your car is parked and your keys are not in the ignition, you can be charged with an APC offense, because at any point you could start the car if you chose. This crime is known under Oklahoma law as being actual physical control of a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
What are Field Sobriety Tests?
There are three field sobriety tests used in Oklahoma:
The Walk and Turn: the officer will ask the driver to walk heel-toe on a real or imaginary straight line, turn 180 degrees and walk back. The driver will then be instructed to follow other instructions while balancing their hands outward. The point is to divide the attention of the driver and see if the driver can follow along. These tasks are ones that a sober person should be able to do easily, and without much trouble. The thought is that a person who is drunk, however, will have issues. The officer is assessing the following to determine the driver’s sobriety:
- Inability to balance during instructions;
- Stopping to regain balance;
- Failing to touch heel-to-toe;
- Stepping out of line;
- Making an improper turn; and
- Taking an incorrect number of steps.
The One-Leg Stand: This test is self-explanatory; as the driver you must stand on one leg without losing balance. Generally, the non-standing leg must be at least six inches off the ground, and the driver must stand like that and count until the officer allows you to put your foot down. The officer will assess the sobriety of the driver by looking for the following:
- Swaying while balancing
- Using arms to balance
- Hopping to maintain balance; and
- Putting the foot down.
The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test: In this test the officer will place an object, often a pen light, in front of the driver’s face and move it horizontally in front of the driver. As the driver follows the object with just their eyes, the officer is looking for rapid movement of the pupils, poor pursuit, and other signs of intoxication. These signs are naturally occurring phenomenon, but alcohol can make it more pronounced.
What is the Implied Consent warning?
In Oklahoma, there is implied consent to sobriety tests, including field tests and breathalyzers. Your driver’s license, which allows you to drive on public roads, carries an implication that you consent for the police to check your sobriety if they have reasonable suspicion that you’re under the influence.
You are allowed to refuse the field sobriety tests, but since your driver’s license implies your consent to the tests, the officer is thereby allowed to seize and revoke your license. This can also be used against you as evidence if you’re tried in court for DUI.
Consequences of a DUI
Getting a DUI in Oklahoma is a serious crime, and the consequences of each DUI get more severe.
What if this is my First Offense?
If this is your first offense, you may face jail time between 10 days and 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and may have your driver’s license revoked for 6 months.
What if this is my Second Offense?
If you get arrested for your second offense, within 10 Years of First Offense, you may be charged with Felony DUI and receive a prison sentence time between 1 year and 5 years. Felony DUI carries a fine of up to $2,500, plus your driver’s license may be revoked for 1 year (if there was a previous revocation for DUI within the past 5 years). Additionally, you may be required to have an ignition interlock device for 6 months to 3 years when your driving privileges are restored.
What if this is my Third or More Offense?
If you have three of more DUI offenses, you may receive a prison sentence between 1 year and 10 years, a fine of up to $5,000, have your driver’s license revoked for 3 years (if there were 2 or more previous revocations for DUI within the past 5 years), and you may be required to have an ignition Interlock Device required for up to 3 years after license revocation period. Felony DUI offenses are taken very seriously by Oklahoma prosecutors.
What Other Expenses Could I Incur?
Costs that can be added on to the fines you pay for a DUI include:
- Attorney’s fees
- Lost time from work
- Transportation costs during your license revocation period
- Alcohol/drug treatment costs
- $75 processing fee for license revocation
- $25 fee for license reinstatement
- $175 fee for authorized limited driving
- Increased insurance rates
What are Underage DUI Consequences?
Oklahoma has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking while driving, underage DUI. Any amount of alcohol found in the system of a driver under 21 may result in their driver’s license being revoked. Refusal to take the BAC test will result in automatic license revocation for the same period that it would be if any alcohol was detected.
Underage DUI convictions may lead to driver’s license revocation for 6 months if it is a first offense, 1 year if it is a second offense, and 36 months if it is a third offense. On top of the license revocation, the underage person might have to pay a fine of $100-$500 for a first conviction, or $100-$1,000 for a second or subsequent conviction.
Sometimes, these consequences can be swapped for community service or a treatment program, or any combination of these with the revocation and fines. Seeking advice and reputation from a Fierce Advocate for DUI defense in Oklahoma can help you fight your Oklahoma DUI case or help you obtain the best outcome in your DUI defense.
Contact – Cannon & Associates: Oklahoma DUI Defense Attorneys Experience matters when you are arrested for driving under the influence or while intoxicated. Failing a field sobriety test could lead to you losing your job or damaging your reputation. It is important to know the Oklahoma defense lawyer you hire is dedicated to your cause and versed in all aspects of DUI and DWI law in Oklahoma. Cannon & Associates is dedicated to FIERCE ADVOCACY for DUI defendants and will fight for you. Contact Cannon & Associates for answers to your questions in your DUI defense in Oklahoma. Complete the CONTACT FORMON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at 405-657-2323 for a free confidential case evaluation.