Definition of DUI-Drugs in Oklahoma
DUI in Oklahoma stands for “driving under the influence.” It’s defined as driving or operating a motor vehicle on a public road, highway, street, turnpike, or other public place, or on a private road, street, alley, or lane that provide access to one or more single or multi-family homes when you:
- Have a blood alcohol content .08 or more at the time of the test;
- Are under the influence of alcohol at the time;
- Have any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance, or one of its metabolites or analogs, in your blood, saliva, urine, or other bodily fluid at the time of the test;
- Are under the influence of any intoxicating substance other than alcohol that may make you incapable of safely driving or operating a motor vehicle; or
- Are under the influence of alcohol and any other intoxicating substance that may make you incapable of safely driving or operating a motor vehicle.
A motor vehicle in Oklahoma is defined as any vehicle that is self-propelled or propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but not operated on rails.
Any test must be conducted within two hours of your arrest. You can also be in actual physical control of a vehicle for drugs.
Schedule I Substances
Note the language, “any amount of a Schedule I or a controlled substance or any of its metabolites or analog in the body.” Oklahoma is a zero-tolerance state for Schedule I substances. If you have any measurable amount of a Schedule I substance or its metabolites, then you’re automatically considered to have been driving under the influence. This is extremely harsh! This means that you can still be found guilty of DUI-drugs if you have any amount of a Schedule I drug or a controlled substance or any of their metabolites or analog in your body—even if you were driving perfectly fine! This can come into play when someone is pulled over, the officer asks the driver if he or she has taken any drugs, and the driver—not knowing this law—states that they consumed some substance that morning or a previous day. If the officer wanted to, they could request to take a sample of the driver’s blood. If the driver refuses, then it’s treated as a refusal.
Although marijuana is a Schedule I substance, THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) is a Schedule III substance. A good argument can be made that Oklahoma is not a per-se (automatically guilty) state for marijuana when it comes to DUI-drugs. The green leafy substance of marijuana can’t be found in blood– only THC or its metabolites. And since it’s possible to consume just THC, it’s impossible to know whether the THC in the blood came from marijuana or an extract. Therefore, a positive test for THC in blood should be associated with the Schedule III substance, not the Schedule I substance. Unfortunately, this argument has not been made at an appellate court yet. This is only theory until someone challenges a DUI conviction strictly on THC in the blood and our Court of Criminal Appeals makes a ruling.
Many people thought that the rate of DUI-drugs would increase after Oklahoma’s medical marijuana law went into effect. That hasn’t been the case. From my experience, talks with other attorneys, and discussions with law enforcement, an officer is typically not going to arrest someone based on the fact that they are a medical marijuana patient and they ingested marijuana recently. The officer will have to see other signs of impairment such as poor driving and poor coordination after exiting the vehicle to arrest for DUI-drugs (marijuana).
The law also makes it possible for you to be held “under the influence” if you’re taking prescribed medication that you ordinarily wouldn’t think would intoxicate someone, such as Prozac, so long as you were rendered incapable of safely driving or operating a motor vehicle. If you’re stopped and asked by a law enforcement officer if you’ve taken any drugs, it would be a good idea to not disclose any information about drug use—legal or illegal. If you do, then you could very well be talking yourself into a DUI-drugs charge. Don’t give law enforcement the probable cause they need to further investigate that crime.
Note that an officer will not automatically want to get your blood if you admit to taking drugs. Decrease the officer’s motivation to hit you with more charges by being polite and respectful. An officer will be more likely to throw the book at someone who is rude and combative.
License Revocation With DUI-Drugs
DPS only revokes licenses for alcohol in the system—not drugs. If blood is taken and an illegal substance (and no alcohol) is found, the license will not be revoked. The driver will not have to place an interlock in their car. However, test results indicating the presence of drugs will be used for the criminal prosecution.
For license revocation purposes, DPS doesn’t distinguish between a refusal for DUI-drugs and an alcohol-related DUI refusal. DPS has know way of knowing that you refused a blood test because you didn’t want them to find out you had drugs in your blood–because you refused the test.
Punishment for Driving Under the Influence in Oklahoma
The punishments listed below are the criminal penalties. A DUI in Oklahoma also affects the driver’s license. That license revocation process will occur in a civil case with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.
Any plea of guilty, nolo contest, or finding of guilt for a violation of Oklahoma’s DUI/APC law, a violation of another state’s DUI/Actual Physical Control (APC) law, a violation of Oklahoma DUI/APC law involving a personal injury accident, or a violation of Oklahoma’s DUI/APC law with at least one child in the vehicle, constitutes a DUI “conviction” for purposes of Oklahoma’s DUI/APC law. A deferred judgment may only constitute a conviction for ten years after probation ends.
The first DUI/APC offense in Oklahoma is a misdemeanor. The range of punishment in jail is ten days–one year. The maximum fine is $1,000. Offenders must participate in a certified alcohol and drug substance abuse evaluation and assessment program and follow all recommendations made in the assessment and evaluation.
A DUI/APC is a felony after having been convicted of or received a deferred judgment for a violation of Oklahoma’s DUI/APC law, having been convicted of or received a deferred judgment for a violation of another state’s DUI/APC law, or having been convicted of DUI/APC in a municipal criminal court of record Oklahoma within ten years after completion of the sentence or deferred judgment. The range of punishment in the Department of Corrections is one–five years. The maximum fine is $2,500. The offender must participate in a certified alcohol and drug substance abuse evaluation and assessment program and may have to follow all recommendations made in the assessment and evaluation.
A DUI after having already been convicted of felony DUI/APC in Oklahoma or another state is a felony. The range of punishment in the Department of Corrections is one–ten years. The maximum fine is $5,000. The offender must participate in a certified alcohol and drug substance abuse evaluation and assessment program and may have to follow all recommendations made in the assessment and evaluation. The court may require the offender to complete 240 hours of community service and install an ignition interlock device.
A DUI after having already been twice convicted of felony DUI/APC in Oklahoma or another state is a felony. The range of punishment in the Department of Corrections is 1–20 years. The maximum fine is $5,000. The offender must participate in a certified alcohol and drug substance abuse evaluation and assessment program and may have to follow all recommendations made in the assessment and evaluation. The court may require the offender to complete 480 hours of community service and install an ignition interlock device for at least 30 days. If the offender doesn’t undergo residential treatment, then he or she must serve at least ten days in prison.
A DUI after having already been convicted of second-degree murder or first-degree manslaughter in which the death was caused as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substance is a felony. The range of punishment in the Department of Corrections is 5–20 years. The maximum fine is $10,000. A conviction from another state will not be used to enhance a DUI punishment in Oklahoma if the out-of-state conviction is based on a blood alcohol concentration of less than 0.08.
Possible Conditions of a DUI/APC Sentence
If you’re found guilty of DUI/APC, then you must participate in an alcohol and drug substance abuse evaluation assessment program and may be required to attend a victims impact panel. A fine in lieu of community service is not allowed if you’re found guilty of DUI. A $100 fine must be paid to the Drug Abuse and Treatment Revolving Fund upon a DUI conviction.
If you are found guilty of felony DUI, then you may be required to submit to electronic monitoring. Electric monitoring in Oklahoma consists of confinement within a specified location or locations with supervision through an electronic device approved by the Department of Corrections. The device must 1) be designed to detect whether the defendant is in the court-ordered location at the required times and 2) record violations.
If you’re over 18 years old and are convicted of DUI while transporting or having any child under 18 years old in the car, then the fine will be enhanced to double the amount of the fine that would have been imposed for the underlying DUI violation. You can also be prosecuted for child endangerment if you are in violation of this law or Oklahoma’s DUI/APC law involving a personal injury accident.