Getting a DUI in Oklahoma

Published on January 26, 2016

It’s not news that DUI, or driving under the influence, is a serious problem in Oklahoma, and nationwide. If you get a DUI in Oklahoma, your penalties could be anything from jail, fines, and license suspension to an ignition interlock device (IID) — or any combination of those.

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device is a mechanism that is used like a Breathalyzer, but that is installed in your vehicle. The driver must breathe into the device before the vehicle is able to start. If the driver’s breath sample result has higher alcohol content than is allowed by the preprogrammed device, the car won’t start. In addition, the results of the breath sample are transmitted by the device to the court system. Sometimes this happens instantly by wireless transfer, other times it’s reported once a month or at another interval.

If you have had more than one Oklahoma DUI offense in the past 10 years, you will be required to have an IID placed on your vehicle.

What is the penalty for a DUI in Oklahoma?

Ultimately, the penalty you receive for a DUI in Oklahoma will likely depend on how many offenses you’ve had in the past ten years, which is the length of time that an offense remains on your record.

For a first offense, the penalty is a 30-day license suspension, up to $1,000 fine and a minimum of five days in jail (maximum of one year). By the time you reach a third offense, your minimum jail time would be one year, and you could be sentenced to up to 10 years! Of course, this all is without any aggravating factors — if you are in a situation where someone gets hurt, or there’s any other unlawful conduct, then you could be adding substantial time to what are already harsh penalties.

Penalty 1st offense 2nd offense 3rd offense
License suspended 30 days 6 months 1 year
Fine Up to $1,000 Up to $2,500 Up to $5,000
Jail Min. 5 days, max. 1 year Min. 1 year, max. 5 years Min. 1 year, max. 10 years

How much alcohol can I legally consume to avoid a DUI?

If you really want to be safe, the answer is none.

Oklahoma takes DUI very seriously. It is a zero-tolerance state if you are under 21 years old — that means that there is no legal level of blood-alcohol content that can be present when you are driving. In other words, you cannot have one drink and expect to drive, because if you get pulled over, even the tiniest amount of alcohol in your bloodstream will carry a penalty. The only legal amount of alcohol when you’re driving is NONE.

If you’re older than 21, the BAC (blood-alcohol content) at which you can be charged with a DUI is 0.08%, and it’s 0.04% if you’re driving a commercial vehicle.

How much alcohol would give me a BAC of 0.08%?

There is no single answer to this question. There are a lot of factors that contribute to your BAC at any time:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Speed of drink consumption
  • Body type
  • Overall health
  • Alcohol tolerance
  • Fat and muscle content
  • Metabolism
  • Hydration and food intake
  • Other medications
  • A drink’s carbonation

Even your emotional state while you’re drinking can affect how the alcohol works in your body. Because many of these factors can change from day to day, and even hour to hour, you can never accurately predict exactly how much alcohol would keep you within the legal limit. In theory, though, 0.08% would be one 12-ounce beer, one five-ounce glass of wine, or one 1.5-ounce shot of distilled spirits, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. For some people, the rule of thumb is that they can consume one drink an hour and be “okay” to drive. Really, though, because there are so many factors that affect how alcohol is tolerated in your body, there is no “safe” amount that would prevent you from being charged with DUI, or prevent you from putting your life or someone else’s in jeopardy.

DUI is serious business. Although the potential for jail time and financial penalties should be enough to give anyone pause before drinking and driving, the real reason to avoid doing so is that you can be putting yourself and others in serious danger. There’s a reason why the laws are so strict on these offenses—because drinking and driving can be fatal. A jail sentence doesn’t end your life, but drinking and driving could. So, take the best approach and don’t drink at all if you’re driving. Select a designated driver before heading out, or find another ride home if you’re drinking. It’s that simple.

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Noble McIntyre

Noble McIntyre began practicing law in Oklahoma in 1995, and has spent his entire career exclusively devoted to representing the injured. Noble has built McIntyre Law into a practice that represents clients nationally in mass tort cases, as well as those injured in his cherished home community of Oklahoma. He leads a practice dedicated to obtaining just outcomes for the injured and his team has obtained multi-million-dollar settlements and judgments for clients. Read more about Noble McIntyre.

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