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Penalties for impaired driving

Oklahoma has passed specific legislation that addresses a person's ability to operate a motor vehicle if they are under the influence of alcohol or another substance that impairs their ability to drive. Penalties for a conviction for impaired driving could range from $100 to $500 and could include a maximum of six months in custody.

In addition, after a DUI, the Department of Public Safety will suspend the person's driving privileges for 30 days for a first offense. For a second offense, the suspension could be as long as six months although the courts have the right to modify this time frame. For a third offense, the person's license could be suspended for a maximum of 12 months, again eligible for modification by the courts.

Anyone who pleads guilty or enters a no contest plea to DUI or DWI will need to cooperate with and complete all phases of an alcohol and drug assessment and evaluation as directed by the court to determine the person's need for treatment and their possible prognosis. The person must pay for this assessment and evaluation and can only attend at a certified agency that has been approved and ordered by a judge. The professional must submit a written report within 72 hours after the person completes the substance-abuse evaluation. The courts then have the option of ordering a 10-hour or 24-hour alcohol and substance abuse class or even more intense counseling. If the offender is directed to participate in treatment, the courts will impose a deferred and a suspended jail sentence.

Sanctions for a DUI can vary widely depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense, a person's criminal history and the court's ruling. A criminal defense attorney might argue for a reduced offense based on the results of the person's assessment and evaluation and their willingness to attend treatment.

Source: The Oklahoma State Courts Network, "Section 761 - Operation of Motor Vehicle While Impaired - Penalties - Suspensions - Violations Not Bondable", October 13, 2014

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