Oklahoma DUI Laws
Driving under the influence (“DUI”) is a complex system of charges and punishments. In general, there are two types of DUIs: the traditional DUI and the administrative DUI. The traditional DUIs are the one you see on television, getting pulled over by the police and having too much blood alcohol content. In Oklahoma, you are guilty of a DUI if you are caught driving with a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of 0.08 or more. Under Oklahoma law, BAC is defined as the unit of milligrams per deciliter. In other words, 0.08 BAC is the equivalent of 8 grams of alcohol in 10 liters of blood.
Furthermore, Oklahoma prohibits driving under the influence of drugs. This prohibition includes both legal and illegal drugs. Unlike alcohol, there is no level requirement. The prosecutor only needs to prove that you were driving under the influence of some kind of drug. The term drug is broad and includes anything from prescription drugs to paint vapors. Under Oklahoma law, however, to be convicted of a DUI, the prosecutor must show that the drug rendered you incapable of safely driving, operating, or being in actual control of a motor vehicle. Thus, it all depends on the type of drug and what kind of effect it has on you. For example, high cholesterol medicine normally has no mood altering or mental side effects. However, let’s say that you took high cholesterol medicine and started getting dizzy. You have just committed a DUI. On the other hand, painkillers are known to create drowsiness and lack of hand-eye-coordination. If you take painkillers, but is still in full control of your vehicle, you cannot be convicted of a DUI.
Traditionally, you could only be convicted if you were driving. In a recent legislation, the Oklahoma legislator removed the driving requirement. Now, you can be convicted of a DUI for having “actual physical control” of the vehicle. The term “actual physical control” is ambiguous and extremely broad. The Legislators inserted these words giving the police a way to stop DUIs from ever happening. In recent case laws, Oklahoma has defined this term to mean that you had actual control of a vehicle and could commit DUI at any moment or that you could have committed a DUI at any moment. If you are intoxicated, slumping over the wheel and the engine is running, you are guilty of a DUI. Although intoxicated and asleep, you still have actual physical control over the vehicle. Thus, if you accidentally stepped on the gas or the car suddenly moved forwarded, you committed a DUI. On the other hand, if you are asleep, the keys are in the ignition, but the car is not turned on; you are still guilty of a DUI. At any moment, you could turn the keys and take off. Thus, you could have committed a DUI at any moment. These are logical reasons to charge you with a DUI and prevent you from harming others.
The second type is the administrative DUI revocation. Under Oklahoma law, just by driving on the road, you consent to giving a blood, breath, or urine sample. Once an officer has probable cause to reasonably believe that you were driving under the influence, she can pull you over and ask for a sample. You can either consent or refuse. If you refuse, your driver license shall be revoked for a set period. More will be discussed below.
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