DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE.
We hear this often, but despite the many reminders, some drivers still do it.
“I’m not drunk.”
“I can drive very carefully.”
This is not only extremely dangerous — it’s also against the law.
So that means, driving under the influence (DUI) results in harsh penalties.
And today, we’re going to show you all that by going over the Oklahoma DUI laws. We’ll also talk about other laws relating to DUI, as well as answer some FAQs.
So are you ready?
Let’s get started.
DUI Laws in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has strict laws (and harsh penalties!) when it comes to driving under the influence (DUI).
To make sure you’re not violating any of these laws, here’s a beginner’s guide about them.
Illegal BAC Levels
Oklahoma uses the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to determine if you are driving under the influence. BAC levels talk about the concentration of alcohol in your bloodstream, so it’s expressed in percent (%).
Now, you are considered driving under the influence (DUI) if your BAC level reaches 0.08% or higher.
Another phrase to be familiar with is DWI which stands for ‘driving while impaired’. Unlike DUI, DWI is called when your BAC level is 0.05% or higher but under 0.08%.
Zero Tolerance Law
The Oklahoma DUI law is even stricter for underage drinkers. The state has zero tolerance for drivers under 21 years old.
This means you will be charged a DUI for any BAC level found in your system.
It doesn’t matter if it’s below 0.08%. As long as it’s above 0%, then you’re already a DUI.
If you don’t yet hold an adult driver’s license and are convicted of a DUI, the Department of Public Safety will deny you your full driving privileges.
What’s more, the court will decide how long your license will be revoked. It can take at least 6 months to 2 years OR when you become 21 years old, whichever is longer.
Drugs and Driving
Driving under the influence is not just about alcohol.
Drugs impair your driving by making you sleepy, reducing your reaction time, and affecting your ability to focus or make the right decisions. So it’s not a surprise that drugged driving is also considered a DUI.
But unlike alcohol, drugged driving doesn’t consider BAC levels. If you are proven to have drugs in your system, you will be charged.
And yes, we’re not just talking about illegal drugs — even over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
Implied Consent Law
Most states have an implied consent law, and Oklahoma is no different.
This law states that if you’re driving or in physical control of a motor vehicle on Oklahoma roads, then you have agreed to take tests to determine your BAC.
Refusing to take a test will result in penalties.
So let’s say a law enforcement officer has good reason to suspect you of DUI. Maybe you’re swerving from lane to lane…
They will pull you over and ask you to take a chemical test to determine your BAC level.
Under the implied consent law, you have to agree to take it if you want to avoid penalties.
If you do, then your BAC level will be determined.
If you don’t, then you’ll face a license suspension and more reasons to be charged with DUI (as your refusal is a big sign that you are going against the law).
Open Container Law
To prevent DUI, the State of Oklahoma has an open container law.
This states that it’s illegal to transport any alcoholic beverage that is opened or has its seal broken. Alcoholic beverage includes drinks that have more than 3.2% of alcohol by weight, mixed alcoholic drinks, and beverages that have more than 0.5% of alcohol by volume.
You’re only exempted from this law if:
- The open beverage is placed in the trunk or rear compartment
- The vehicle is a bus or limousine and the passenger carries the beverage
- It’s placed in an outside compartment and not accessible to the driver
DUI Penalties in Oklahoma
To discourage drivers from drinking and driving, the State of Oklahoma has harsh penalties for both DUI and DWI.
If you’re charged with DWI (BAC level of 0.05%), you will be given a fine of $100 – $500 and up to 6 months in jail. Depending on the scenario, you might be given both penalties.
If your BAC level is at 0.08% and above, there’s a set of penalties that you will face depending on the number of offenses you’ve had:
|Offense||Conviction||Fine||Jail Time||License Suspension|
|1st||Misdemeanor||Up to $1,000||10 days – 1 year||180 days|
|2nd within 10 years||Felony||Up to $2,500||1-5 years||1 year|
|2nd felony||Felony||Up to $5,000||1-7 years||3 years|
|Third or subsequent offense||Felony||Up to $5,000||1-10 years||3 years|
On top of that, you also have to pay additional fees when you’re arrested:
- Lawyer’s fees
- Court costs
- Costs for alcohol or drug substance abuse evaluation
- $75 processing fee for driver’s license revocation
- $25 reinstatement fee to get your driver’s license back
- $200 trauma fee
- $15 assessment fee
- $175 limited-driving privilege, if applicable
- Higher insurance rates
With just these fees, anyone will get discouraged to commit a DUI!
As promised, let’s go over some frequently asked questions about DUI in Oklahoma.
What happens when you get a DUI for the first time in Oklahoma?
If it’s just your first time getting a DUI sentence, you will be charged with a misdemeanor, a fine of up to $1,000, and 10-365 days in jail. You will also have your license revoked for up to 180 days.
Is your license suspended immediately after a DUI in Oklahoma?
Your license is suspended automatically once you’re arrested for DUI. Depending on the DUI violations you’ve committed, it may be suspended from 180 days to 3 years.
Is DUI a felony in Oklahoma?
A DUI is only a felony on your second and subsequent offenses. The first offense is considered a misdemeanor.
Can you drive after a DUI in Oklahoma?
Since your license will be revoked on any DUI offense, you can’t drive. Driving without a license in Oklahoma is illegal.
However, you can get back your license through reinstatement once you complete the required suspension period.
How do I get out of a DUI in Oklahoma?
A DUI case can be dismissed if you or your attorney file a “motion to dismiss”.
A motion to dismiss can be filed before you’re ever brought to court if you can provide proof that:
- There was no sufficient reason to ask you to stop
- There was no reasonable suspicion to assume you were a DUI
- There was no probable cause to arrest you for DUI
In these cases, we recommend having an attorney help you file a dismissal.
Can you refuse a field sobriety test in Oklahoma?
Yes, you can.
If a law enforcement officer doesn’t have a chemical test at hand, they may ask you to take a field sobriety test.
This includes the eye test (checking your horizontal gaze), the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg stand test.
Since this isn’t under the implied consent law, you can refuse the test and the officer will have no right to arrest you for that.
How do I get my license back after a DUI in Oklahoma?
To get your license back, you need to participate in the Impaired Driver Accountability Program (IDAP) or appeal for reinstatement to the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Sure, maybe you’re very careful when you drive after drinking.
But is it worth it?
Think of all the penalties you will face if you’re caught.
More than that, think of how one mistake can cause severe injuries and even deaths.
So the next time you’re tempted to take the keys after a drink, stop and consider all these Oklahoma DUI laws and penalties.
Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.