A conviction for driving under the influence in Oklahoma comes at a steep cost, regardless of the circumstances. But if you have been convicted of a DUI within the previous ten years, the potential penalties are even more severe. A second DUI conviction during a ten-year span is a felony offense. While these penalties are steep, you aren't without options. The right Oklahoma DUI defense attorney can help you navigate those options and get you the best possible result.
Oklahoma DUI Laws
If you've been charged with a DUI in Oklahoma, the state can proceed against you based on one of three theories. You will be found guilty if the prosecutor can prove you were:
- Operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more;
- Operating a vehicle with any amount of a schedule I controlled substance in your systems; or
- Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that it renders you incapable of driving safely.
The most common way a prosecutor will try to prove that you were driving while intoxicated is by showing the jury evidence that your BAC was .08% or more. The .08% cutoff is common across most states. While the results of your BAC test may be the cornerstone of the prosecutor's case, there is other evidence that can be used against you. Admissions of drinking, failed field sobriety tests, and eyewitness accounts are only a few of the types of evidence the state may use.
Oklahoma DUI Second Offense and the “Lookback” Period
It takes more than simply having a prior DUI conviction at any point in your life to be charged with a DUI second offense. For your subsequent DUI to qualify as a DUI second offense, you must have a previous conviction during the 10-year “lookback” period. Any convictions outside of that 10-year window will not be used to enhance your charge to a felony. Likewise, Oklahoma law only takes into consideration convictions. If you were arrested previously for DUI during the lookback period but never convicted, any subsequent arrests would be treated as a first offense.
Under Oklahoma law, it is not only illegal to drive under the influence, but also to refuse to submit to a chemical test as part of a DUI investigation. Known as implied consent, Oklahoma law holds that by driving on an Oklahoma public road, you have impliedly consented to a blood, breath, saliva, or urine test to allow officers to check your BAC levels.
The law requires that officers inform you of the legal ramifications of refusing to submit to a chemical test. This is normally done by an officer reading an implied consent form to you and having you indicate you understand your rights by signing the form.
Penalties for a DUI Second Offense
Like every felony conviction, penalties for a second-offense DUI conviction are steep in Oklahoma. Moreover, under a few circumstances, it is possible to have your sentence further enhanced, beyond the standard penalties of a felony DUI.
Standard Penalties for a DUI Second Offense
Unlike most states, which treat a second DUI as a misdemeanor, Oklahoma charges a DUI Second Offense as a felony. A conviction carries a minimum of one year and a maximum of five years in jail. Additionally, you will face a maximum fine of $2,500. Finally, you will also face a license suspension of between 6 months and 1 year.
You may face additional penalties if your BAC was exceptionally high. In Oklahoma, a BAC reading of .15 or more is considered an aggravated DUI. An aggravated DUI second offense will require you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle once your driving privileges have been reinstated.
An IID is a device installed into your vehicle that requires you to blow into it before starting the engine. If you register a BAC of more than 0.0 your vehicle will not start and you will be unable to drive it. With an aggravated DUI, you may also be required by the court to receive alcohol abuse treatment and testing. The costs of the IID and any alcohol treatment will be yours to bear.
Failure to Take a Chemical Test
Failing to take a chemical test can also enhance your DUI penalties. If you refuse to take the test, your driver's license will be revoked for one year. You will also be required to install an IID for an additional 4 years or until your license is fully reinstated, whatever is longer.
Legal Defenses to DUI Charges
There are typically two major types of defenses to a DUI second offense: challenges to the traffic stop and challenges to the chemical test.
Challenges to the Traffic Stop
A challenge to the legality of the traffic stop that leads to your DUI arrest is one of the most common defenses available. Law enforcement officers cannot simply stop any vehicle on a whim; they must have probable cause to believe that a traffic offense or other violation of the law was committed to stopping your vehicle. Any evidence collected due to an illegal stop or search cannot be used against you at trial. An experienced criminal defense attorney knows your rights and can fight to suppress any evidence collected if your rights were violated.
Challenges to the Test
The second most common defense in a DUI case involves challenged the accuracy of the chemical test or the qualifications of the person doing the testing. The law requires the State to use standardized procedures when collecting blood, breath, urine, or saliva samples. It also requires that those samples are cared for in a particular way and that any testing of those samples is completed by properly licensed professionals. If the State fails to follow any of these protocols, an experienced Oklahoma DUI attorney may be able to have the test results thrown out.
The Worden Law Firm
Have you been charged with a Second-Offense DUI in Oklahoma? If so, the Worden law Firm is ready to help defend you. Contact the Worden Law Firm today to set up your free consultation.