What is DWI in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma is unique in that it has an arrestable offense for a BAC lower than 0.08. We call it Driving While Impaired, or DWI. This is not to be confused with DUI, which is “bad” drunk driving charge. DWI in Oklahoma should not be confused with DWI in places such as Texas. There are few equivalents to our DWI in this country. Oklahoma’s DUI is equivalent to Texas’s DWI. Think of Oklahoma’s DWI as like a bad traffic ticket. There are zero license points associated with a DWI. Every DWI is a misdemeanor, no matter how many times you’ve been charged with it and no matter when your last one was. A DWI cannot be used to enhance a subsequent drunk driving arrest to a felony.
Oklahoma’s Driving While Impaired Law
Generally, you’re considered driving while impaired if you operate a motor vehicle while your ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired by the consumption of alcohol, or any other substance other than alcohol, which is capable of being ingested, inhaled, injected, or absorbed into the human body and is capable of adversely affecting the central nervous system, vision, hearing, or any other sensory or motor functions. A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) greater than 0.05 but less than 0.08 (so a .06 and .07) is evidence that your ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol. However, you can’t be convicted of driving while impaired solely because there was, at the time of the test, a BAC greater than 0.05 but less than 0.08. There must be additional evidence that your ability to operate the vehicle was affected by alcohol to the extent that the public health and safety was threatened or that you had violated a law or ordinance in the operation of a motor vehicle. The blood or breath test must be administered within two hours of the arrest.
Punishments For DWI In Oklahoma
All driving while impaired convictions are misdemeanors. The maximum punishment in the county jail is six months. The maximum fine is $500. Anyone found guilty of DWI or pleading guilty or no contest to DWI will be ordered to participate in, prior to sentencing, an alcohol and drug assessment and evaluation. If the evaluation shows that the defendant would benefit from a ten-hour or twenty-four-hour alcohol and drug substance abuse course or a treatment program or both, the court will, as a condition of any sentence imposed, including a deferred sentence and a suspended sentence, require the person to follow all recommendations identified by the assessment and evaluation and ordered by the court.
Effect of DWI on Driver’s License
After receipt of your driving while impaired conviction and when that conviction has become final, DPS will suspend your driving privileges as follows:
- First suspension – 30 days. This cannot be modified (so you can’t legally drive during this month!);
- Second suspension – Six months. This may be modified. The modification applies to Class D motor vehicles only; and
- Third and subsequent suspensions – Twelve months. This may be modified. The modification applies to Class D motor vehicles only.
There are no points associated with a driving while impaired conviction. If a CDL holder is charged with DUI or APC, then a reduction to driving while impaired would be a great outcome. It does not affect the CDL because there’s no national equivalent to Oklahoma’s DWI.
Current as of March 1, 2020. Laws are subject to change at any time! Go to the sources cited above for the most up-to-date law.