The consequences for a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) in Oklahoma are steep, even for first-time offenders. However, the potential punishments for three or more DUIs in a set period of time can be life-altering. This felony conviction can cost you years of your life in prison, thousands of dollars, and years without the ability to drive.
A third or subsequent DUI charge doesn't mean you have to give up hope, though. An experienced DUI defense attorney may be able to get the charges against you lessened or even dismissed. If you have been charged with a DUI in Oklahoma, the experienced defense attorneys at the Worden Law Firm are here to help.
Third and Subsequent DUI Offenses in Oklahoma
In your DUI case, the state has multiple ways they can prove that you were operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. To obtain a conviction, the prosecutor need only prove to a jury that you engaged in one of the following three behaviors:
- 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 system; or
- Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that it renders you incapable of driving safely.
Most of the time, the prosecutor's primary evidence will be a chemical test that indicates your BAC was above the legal limit at the time the test was performed. However, that isn't the only evidence the state may use against you. The prosecutor may offer physical evidence, like half-empty alcohol containers from the interior of your vehicle, or a video of you supposedly failing a field sobriety test, and even your own statements about whether you consumed alcohol before driving.
It is incumbent on your defense attorney to keep the prosecutor from admitting evidence that should not be allowed and poke holes in any unsubstantiated claims they make.
Oklahoma Law and the 10-year “lookback” period
When you are arrested under suspicion of DUI, the prosecutor must consider your previous record in determining what charge(s) you'll face. While previous convictions for DUI can cause you to face much stiffer penalties, it's important to note that not every conviction during your life will be considered.
Oklahoma law utilizes a 10-year “lookback” period when considering prior convictions. In other words, only your prior convictions during the previous ten years will count against you. For example, if you are arrested for a DUI and have only one prior conviction from 20 years ago, you will be charged with DUI first offense.
Your Right to Notice of Oklahoma Implied Consent Laws
In Oklahoma, by merely driving on public roads you are considered to have impliedly consented to give a blood, breath, saliva, or urine sample if you are stopped and questioned due to suspicion of DUI. While the police can't force you to give a sample without a warrant, failure to give a sample when requested can lead to additional legal consequences. Before you can face additional legal jeopardy for refusing to take a test, the arresting officer must give you notice of the legal consequences of violating the implied consent law. Typically, this is done by the officer reading an implied consent form to you and having you sign to indicate you understand your rights.
Penalties for Third and Subsequent DUI Convictions
With a maximum prison sentence of ten years, the consequences of a third-offense DUI in Oklahoma are some of the toughest in the nation. As if those potential penalties weren't enough, you may face additional consequences if you have an extremely high BAC level or if you fail to take a chemical test.
Each third or subsequent conviction for DUI carries a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 10 years in prison. In addition, you may face a maximum fine of $10,000, as well as having your driving privileges revoked for three years.
In Oklahoma, you may face additional penalties if you are charged with “aggravated” DUI. To be charged with aggravated DUI, your BAC must have been 0.15% or more at the time of your arrest. If you are found to have a BAC high enough to qualify as an aggravated DUI, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle once you have your driving privileges restored. An IID is a device that requires you to blow into it before starting your vehicle. If the IID registers a BAC of more than 0.0 your vehicle will not start. Additionally, you may be required to attend substance abuse treatment and testing. You will be responsible for the cost of the IID and any treatment required by the court.
Failure to Take a Test
You will face additional penalties if you refuse to submit to a chemical test. Under Oklahoma law, a refusal will lead to a license revocation of 1 additional year. You will also be required to install an IID for four years or until your license is reinstated, whichever is longer.
Defenses to a Third or Subsequent DUI Charge
There are two common types of defenses in most DUI cases: defenses that challenge the legality of the traffic stop and defenses that challenge the accuracy of the chemical test.
Challenges to the Traffic Stop
One of the strongest defenses a DUI case can have is a valid challenge to a traffic stop. Law enforcement is prohibited from simply pulling over any car they want. Additionally, even if a traffic stop is valid, the officer can't perform an extensive search of your vehicle without a warrant, your consent, or probable cause that your vehicle contains evidence of a crime. Any evidence collected due to an illegal traffic stop or search can be excluded from trial by an experienced defense attorney.
Challenges to the Chemical Test
The other common defense is a challenge to the accuracy of a chemical test. Officers that collect blood, breath, urine, or saliva tests must have certain qualifications to do so. Failing to maintain the proper certifications can render any sample taken unusable at trial. What's more, if the equipment law enforcement uses to run these tests isn't properly maintained, your attorney may be able to have the results of those tests excluded.
Finding the Right Oklahoma DUI Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a third or subsequent offense DUI in Oklahoma, immediately contact the Worden Law Firm for your free consultation.