Even a slight lapse of judgment can result in a person being arrested for drunk driving in Oklahoma, but there are different types of charges that you may face under the law. Driving while impaired (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) are separate crimes, and certain circumstances can take the violation from a misdemeanor to a felony charge that remains on your record. Plus, there are varying penalties for a conviction for DWI as compared to DUI. If you’ve been charged with either offense, consult with a qualified drunk driving lawyer in Oklahoma. However, some background information can help you understand DWI/DUI cases.

Driving While Impaired versus Driving Under the Influence

Under Oklahoma law, the primary difference between DWI and DUI is your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. If your BAC is .08 percent or above when operating a vehicle, you may be charged with DUI. A BAC above .05 percent, but lower than .08 percent is considered DWI. However, if you’re under 21 years old when pulled over for drunk driving, any trace amount of alcohol could result in a DWI or DUI: Oklahoma is a zero tolerance state for individuals under the legal age to drink.

Penalties for DWI and DUI

The punishment you face for drunk driving offenses depend upon your history with DWI or DUI, as follows:

  •      First Violation: You face imprisonment of 10 days to one year, plus a fine up to $1,000. Your driver’s license could be revoked up to six months.
  •      Second Violation (within 10 years of a first offense): You could be sentenced from one to five years in jail, and a maximum fine of $2,500. Your driving privileges could be revoked up to a year.
  •      Third and Subsequent Offenses: A judge could sentence you up to 10 years in jail and order you to pay a fine up to $5,000. You also face a driver’s license revocation for three years.

Ignition Interlock Devices

In addition to the penalties mentioned above, you could be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle. The device operates by preventing your car from starting if your BAC is above a designated limit when you blow into it. Under certain circumstances, you may be ordered to install an IID after your first DWI/DUI offense. For a second violation, you face the IID for six months to three years; after a third offense, you may have to have the IID installed for up to three years after your license revocation period.
DWI and DUI are serious offenses that can impact your driving privileges and carry criminal penalties, so it’s important to understand how these cases work in Oklahoma. However, this general information isn’t a substitute for the years of experience that a drunk driving attorney brings to your situation. If you’ve been charged with DWI or DUI, it’s critical that you consult with a qualified lawyer who knows the law and criminal defense proceedings. Please contact the Law Offices of Robert R. Robles at (405) 232-7980 to discuss you’re your matter in more detail.