Drunk driving charges across the United States attract strict penalties, including jail time. In Oklahoma, the chances of going to jail for a DUI offense depend on many factors, including the type of DUI charges against you, the quality of your legal representation, and the aggravating circumstances or mitigating circumstances surrounding your DUI case. Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer to the question or whether or not you will go to jail for your DUI case in Oklahoma. This article was written to address the most common factors that impact whether it is likely that you will have to serve jail time on your DUI case. 

Being a first-time DUI offender doesn’t completely remove the threat of jail time. The Oklahoma law prescribes at least 10 days and up to 1 year in jail as the minimum sentence for first-time offenders that receive a conviction for a first-time DUI offense. Additionally, if it is your second DUI offense within ten years then you will likely face a felony DUI charge. The minimum jail time increases for second and third-time DUI offenders who have been re-arrested and convicted for a DUI offense within a defined period.

Factors That Can Determine Jail Time in Oklahoma DUI Cases

A DUI offense in Oklahoma is one of the most and most complicated criminal offenses in our state, especially as the state has strict DUI laws to discourage them. If you’ve been charged with a first-time DUI, chances are high you may be able to work closely with an experienced Oklahoma DUI lawyer to resolve the case without jail time and avoid a DUI conviction. However, such a case may become more complicated when aggravating factors like the endangerment of a minor, personal injury, or even death occur or are alleged in your DUI case. A first-time DUI offense that would regularly be a misdemeanor DUI, less serious DUI, may be increased to felony DUI, more serious, if certain aggravating factors are present, i.e. serious harm to a passenger or another motorist.  

A subsequent DUI in Oklahoma, essentially a second DUI arrest within 10 years following the completion of an earlier DUI sentence, will often result in a felony DUI charge. The most impactful change between misdemeanor DUI and a felony DUI is that the felony DUI carries potentially years of prison time. The length of the punishment range is dependent upon your history of DUI offenses, as well what, if any, injuries were suffered by others as a result of the DUI.

Sadly, many instances of DUI accidents result in the death of a passenger in the driver’s vehicle or another motorist. When someone loses their life as a result of a DUI offense the driver suspected of DUI will likely be charged with felony Manslaughter, which is a homicide offense. DUI manslaughter carries a sentence of up to life in prison.

Your conduct during your DUI stop, DUI arrest, and booking after a DUI stop plays a role in the risk of jail time as well. Prosecutors wear many hats in their role, including taking into consideration the safety of law enforcement and detention officials at jails. Therefore, your risk of serving jail time for a DUI arrest is increased, if you threaten law enforcement or assault law enforcement during your DUI arrest. However, it is important to note each DUI case is handled case by case. This means you need to speak to your qualified Oklahoma DUI lawyer about your case and the circumstances around it.

Aggravated DUI

Aggravated DUI is simply a DUI offense that is more serious or “aggravated” based on the amount of alcohol in the driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). A DUI defendant might be charged with aggravated DUI if their Blood Alcohol Concentration was measured at 0.15% or more at the time of the arrest. If convicted, defendants will face a mandatory 28-day inpatient alcohol program at a rehabilitation facility. For context, the minimum Blood Alcohol Concentration to be charged with DUI in Oklahoma is .08 BAC. 

It is important to note that an aggravated DUI doesn’t necessarily elevate the case status to a felony DUI. The major difference between a felony DUI is the presence of a prior conviction, child endangerment, or DUI accident leading to great bodily injury or death of another.

Felony DUI

Although DUI cases are treated on a case-by-case basis, it is important to note that felony DUI charges often attract steeper penalties under the Oklahoma DUI Laws.

  • A first felony DUI conviction in Oklahoma can carry a prison time of between one and 5 years.
  • A second felony DUI conviction, within 10 years of serving the prior sentence, attracts between one to 10 years of prison time.
  • A third or subsequent DUI conviction signals a repeat offender and can mean between one and 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, a drivers’ license suspension for no less than three years, and a court-mandated substance abuse treatment program.

Non-Jail Penalties for DUI in Oklahoma

Most DUI defendants are concerned about their freedom following a DUI arrest. However, a DUI-related jail sentence isn’t the only penalty to be worried about in this process. Your future can be impacted in more ways than your freedom following a DUI arrest or DUI sentence. In fact, most DUI convictions come with a host of other penalties, including court fees and fines, mandatory completion of DUI schools, probation, community service, and potential revocation of your defendant’s license. The stigma and impact on your career that sometimes follows a DUI can be life changing, which is why it is so important to treat this process seriously and seek the outcome that reduces the negative consequences as much as possible.

Each DUI arrest and charge in Oklahoma will result in two processes you must face: a civil process and a criminal process. The civil aspect of a DUI arrest concerns your driver’s license and the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS). The Courts have decided that driving is a “privilege” and not a Right. Therefore, the government can take away that privilege by following a very simply process through DPS. 

Whenever you are arrested on suspicion of a DUI, your driving privileges will immediately be brought into question. The civil aspect threatens the revocation of your driver’s license. This threat can be countered within 30 days of initial arrest by requesting an administrative hearing at the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS). You must fight for your driving privileges or DPS will revoke them. 

Failure to request an administrative hearing within the 30-day period after the DUI arrest or failure at the DPS hearing may result in your driver’s license being revoked. Separate from the administrative hearing process, you may seek to protect your driving privileges by participating in DPS’s IDAP or Impaired Driving Accountability Program. 

The criminal aspect of DUI defense is just as complicated and includes many varied decisions that must be made to obtain the best outcome. The DUI criminal defense process consists of obtaining multiple steps beginning with obtain all DUI discovery, including: dash cam video and body cam video from your DUI arrest, evaluating the field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests, blood alcohol content test, and any other evidence in your case. 

Next your DUI defense attorney needs to review and evaluate the evidence with you in order to assist you in making an informed decision on fighting your DUI case or seeking an agreed outcome. The road towards DUI litigation and DUI jury trial is separate from seeking a plea agreement in your DUI case and you must obtain experienced Oklahoma DUI counsel to help you make the best decision in order to seek to avoid going to jail on your DUI or receiving a DUI conviction.

It is recommended that you consult with an experienced Oklahoma DUI lawyer to discuss your case and obtain guidance in your decision to participate in IDAP, which subjects you to an Interlock Device or “blow and go” or to contest your DUI stop and arrest in a District Court Appeal of the initial DPS driver’s license revocation. At Cannon & Associates, we have a team of Fierce AdvocatesÆ that work every day to fight for the rights and better futures of our clients. We are ready to work with you to uphold your rights and improve your chances of a positive outcome.

Contact – Cannon & Associates: Oklahoma Fierce Advocates for DUI Defendants

The Fierce AdvocatesÆ at Cannon & Associates, have the experience you need to represent you and your loved ones in any Oklahoma DUI offense. We have successfully helped hundreds of clients avoid conviction and jail time on DUI charges across the state of Oklahoma. We have helped clients facing every type of DUI offense in Oklahoma, from first-offense DUI or APC to vehicular manslaughter DUI or Felony DUI. Contact Cannon & Associates by completing the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL 405-883-4427 for a free, confidential case strategy meeting.