Alcohol Crimes in Oklahoma – Laws & Punishments

Oklahoma’s alcohol laws drastically changed in 2018. Very antiquated laws were entirely repealed and replaced by more modern law. Some of the old laws were slightly modified and put in the new Title. Some are missing entirely. Most of Oklahoma’s alcohol crimes are in Title 37, however there are a couple in other Titles. The primary alcohol-related crimes in Oklahoma are: Public Intoxication; Minor in Possession of Alcohol; Transporting an Open Container; Consumption of Alcohol by Invitee Under 21; Failure to Possess Required License; Unauthorized Sale, Possession, or Purchase of Alcohol; Buying Alcohol With a Fake ID; Selling, Furnishing, or Giving Alcohol to an Underage Person; Selling, Furnishing, or Giving an Alcoholic Beverage to an Insane, Mentally Deficient, or Intoxicated Person; Violating Hours of Operation to Sell Alcohol; and Permitting a Person to be Intoxicated on Licensee’s Premises.

Public Intoxication

This crime is sometimes referred to as “PI” or “drunk in public.” In Oklahoma, it’s illegal to disturb the peace of someone and either:

  1. Drink or otherwise consume any
    1. intoxicating liquor (unless authorized by the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Control Act),
    2. intoxicating substance or
    3. intoxicating compound of any kind, or
    4. inhale
      1. glue,
      2. paint or
      3. other intoxicating substance
    5. in
      1. any public place, or in or upon any
        1. passenger coach,
        2. streetcar, or in or upon
        3. any other vehicle commonly used for the transportation of passengers, or in or about any
          1. depot,
          2. platform,
          3. waiting station, or
          4. room;
  2. Be drunk or intoxicated in any public or private road, or in any
    1. passenger coach,
    2. streetcar or
      1. any public place or building, or
      2. at any public gathering,
    3. from drinking or consuming such
      1. intoxicating liquor,
      2. intoxicating substance or
      3. intoxicating compound or from inhalation of
        1. glue,
        2. paint, or
        3. other intoxicating substance; or
  3. Be drunk or intoxicated from any cause.

public intoxication arrest oklahoma attorney minor in possession of alcoholThe statute this comes from is 37A O.S. § 6-101(D). Note that there is an element of “disturbing the peace.” This subsection of 6-101 is almost identical to the statute that was used to charge public intoxication prior to the rewrite of Oklahoma’s liquor laws. However, this version added the element of “disturbing the peace.” Because this now makes it more difficult to charge someone with public intoxication, sneaky prosecutors sometimes try to prosecute people under 6-101(A)(8), which states:

“No person shall . . . Consume spirits in public except on the premises of a licensee of the ABLE Commission who is authorized to sell or serve spirits by the individual drink, or be intoxicated in a public place. This provision shall be cumulative and in addition to existing law”

This subsection clearly is in conflict with 6-101(D). The punishment for 6-101(A)(8) is actually harsher than the punishment for 6-101(D). I believe the rule of lenity requires prosecution under only 6-101(D), however I’m not aware of any court that has decided this issue.

As a policy reason, it makes more sense to charge someone under 6-101(D). We want to encourage people to catch a ride home from a bar with Lyft/Uber rather than trying to drive home drunk. If someone is standing outside waiting on their rideshare not bothering anyone–but intoxicated–they shouldn’t be arrested. Being able to charge someone with a crime who is merely standing outside drunk waiting on a rideshare would be bad public policy.

Note that you can be charged with public intoxication in a vehicle. If the driver is sober, you are drunk in the passenger seat, y’all get pulled over, then you could potentially be charged with (or at least arrested for) public intoxication. If that happens, then just remain calm and comply with all lawful orders to reduce your chances of getting arrested. Being polite to a law enforcement officer can go a long way in determining whether you’ll get arrested.

Public intoxication is a charge that an Actual Physical Control (APC) charge sometimes gets reduced to. This is because the defendant may not have been in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, but he or she may have been drunk in public.

Punishment

This crime is a misdemeanor. The punishment under 6-101(D) is:

  • 5-30 days in jail
  • $10-$100 fine

The punishment under 6-101(A)(8) is:

  • Up to six months in jail
  • Up to $500 fine

Charged with Public Intoxication in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Sources: 37A O.S. § 6-101 & 37A O.S. § 6-125

Minor in Possession of Alcohol

It’s illegal for someone under 21 to be in the possession of any intoxicating beverage containing more than 3.2% alcohol by weight or any low-point beer as defined by Section 163.2 of Title 37 of the Oklahoma Statutes while that person is upon any public street, road, or highway, or in any public building or place. Note that this law doesn’t prohibit a minor from possessing alcohol in private home.

Note that it references Title 37 to define key terms in the law. Title 37 doesn’t exist anymore. At least part of, if not this entire law, may be void. The statute that was primarily used to prosecute this crime was 37 O.S. § 246. However, that statute was repealed in 2018. There doesn’t appear to be an equivalent section in the rewritten alcohol laws in Title 37A.

This crime is a misdemeanor. The maximum punishment in jail is 30 days The maximum fine is $100.

Charged with Minor in Possession of Alcohol in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Sources: 10A O.S. §§ 2-8-222 & 2-8-223

Transporting an Open Container

It’s illegal for any operator to knowingly transport or for any passenger to possess in any moving vehicle upon a public highway, street, or alley any intoxicating beverage or low-point beer, as defined by Sections 163.1 and 163.2 of Title 37 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

Note that it references Title 37 to define key terms in the law. Title 37 doesn’t exist anymore. It’s my belief that this entire law is void because it doesn’t reference an existing law to define key terms.

Exceptions

The alcohol may be in the unopened and sealed original container with the cap on. The opened container may be in the  rear trunk or rear compartment, which shall include the spare tire compartment in a station wagon or panel truck, or any outside compartment that is not accessible to the driver or any other person in the vehicle while it is in motion.

This law doesn’t apply to the passenger area of buses and limousines; however, it’s illegal for the driver of the bus or limousine to consume or have in the driver’s immediate possession any intoxicating beverage or low-point beer.

Punishment

This crime is a misdemeanor. The punishment in this statute references Section 566 of Title 37, which also no longer exists. A violator must pay a $100 trauma-care fee.

Terms Defined

“Bus” means a vehicle chartered for transportation of persons for hire. It doesn’t mean a school bus, transporting children or a vehicle operated pursuant to a franchise with a city or town operating over a regularly scheduled route.

“Limousine” means a chauffeur-driven motor vehicle, other than a bus or taxicab, designed and used for transportation of persons for compensation.

Charged with Transporting an Open Container in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Source: 21 O.S. § 1220

Consumption of Alcohol by Invitee Under 21

It’s illegal to knowingly and willfully permit someone under 21, who is an invitee to your residence, any building, structure, or room owned, occupied, leased or otherwise procured by you or on any land owned, occupied, leased, or otherwise procured by you, to possess or consume any alcoholic beverage or controlled dangerous substance, in such place.

Misdemeanor Punishment

This crime is a misdemeanor for the first offense. The maximum fine is $500. If you violate this law within ten years of either 1) violating this same law; 2) violating the provisions of another state prohibiting the same activity; or 3) violating an ordnance in a municipal court of record that prohibits the same activity, then the maximum fine will be $1,000.

Felony Punishment

This crime becomes a felony after you have been twice convicted of violating this law, the provisions of any law of another state prohibiting this activity, a municipal ordnance from a municipal court of record prohibiting this activity, or any combination of the above. The maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is five years. The maximum fine is $2,500.

A violation of this law that causes great bodily injury or the death of a person is a felony. The maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is five years. The range of fine is $2,500–$5,000.

Charged with Consumption of Alcohol by Invitee Under 21 in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Source: 37A O.S. § 6-101

Failure to Possess Required License

It’s illegal to knowingly engage in any activity or perform any transaction or act for which a license is required under the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Control Act without a license.

The first offense is a misdemeanor. The range of punishment in jail is 30 days–6 months. The maximum fine is $2,500. A second and subsequent offense is a felony. The maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is one year. The maximum fine is $2,500.

Charged with Failure to Possess Required License in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Source: 37A O.S. § 6-117

Unauthorized Sale, Possession, or Purchase of Alcohol

It’s illegal for any person holding a license issued pursuant to the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Control Act to sell or deliver an alcoholic beverage to any person not entitled to purchase or receive it (except as provided by law). It’s also illegal for any person holding a license issued pursuant to the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Control Act to have for sale any alcoholic beverage that he or she is not entitled to sell under the license. It’s also illegal for any person to buys an alcoholic beverage (either retail or wholesale) from any person other than a licensed dealer under the terms of the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Control Act.

This crime is a misdemeanor. The maximum punishment in jail is six months. The maximum fine is $1,500.

Charged with Unauthorized Sale, Possession, or Purchase of Alcohol in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Source: 37A O.S. § 6-118

Buying Alcohol With a Fake ID

It’s illegal for someone under 21 years of age to try to buy alcohol with a fake ID. It’s also illegal for someone under the age of 21 to enter a package store or a separate or enclosed bar area (as designated by the ABLE Commission).

This crime is a misdemeanor. The maximum fine is $50.

Additionally, if a person is convicted or pleads guilty to a violation of this law in any court having jurisdiction over the offense, the court may order the Department of Public Safety to cancel or deny the offender’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle. Upon such order, the court must require that the operator’s or chauffeur’s license, if any, be surrendered to the Department of Public Safety. The cancellation or denial period will be for one year, or until the person reaches 21, whichever is longer.

Any person whose driver license is ordered cancelled or denied pursuant to this law may petition the court of original jurisdiction for review of the order. Upon notice and hearing, the court may modify or withdraw the order as the court deems appropriate except:

  1. A court may not withdraw an order for at least 90 days following the issuance of the order if it is the first such order issued regarding the person named; and
  2. A court may not withdraw an order for at least six months following the issuance of the order if it is the second or subsequent such order issued regarding the person named. If the Department of Public Safety receives written notice from the court of original jurisdiction that it has withdrawn such an order, the Department has to immediately reinstate any driving privileges that have been canceled or denied under this law, without requiring payment of a reinstatement fee.

Someone convicted of a violation of the provisions of this law has to complete a substance abuse prevention program conducted by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services or a private entity approved by the Department. Such program must include at least two sessions, each of which shall be not less than two hours long.

Charged with Buying Alcohol With a Fake ID in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Source: 37A O.S. § 6-119

Selling, Furnishing, or Giving Alcohol to an Underage Person

This crime is commonly referred to “giving alcohol to a minor” or “furnishing alcohol to a minor.” It’s illegal to furnish or give an alcoholic beverage to someone under 21.

This crime is a misdemeanor for the first offense. The maximum punishment in jail is one year. The maximum fine is $500. A second and subsequent violation of this law is a felony. The maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is five years. The range of fine is $2,500–$5,000.  The ABLE Commission will revoke the license of any person convicted of a violation of this law.

Charged with Selling, Furnishing, or Giving Alcohol to an Underage Person in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Source: 37A O.S. § 6-120 

Selling, Furnishing, or Giving an Alcoholic Beverage to an Insane, Mentally Deficient, or Intoxicated Person

It’s illegal to knowingly sell, furnish, or give an alcoholic beverage to an insane, mentally deficient, or intoxicated person.

The first violation is a misdemeanor. The maximum punishment in jail is one year. The maximum fine is $500. A second and subsequent violation of this law is a felony. The maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is five years. The range of fine is $2,500–$5,000.  The ABLE Commission will revoke the license of any person convicted of a violation of this law.

Charged with Selling, Furnishing, or Giving an Alcoholic Beverage to an Insane, Mentally Deficient or Intoxicated Person in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Source: 37A O.S. § 6-121

Violating Hours of Operation to Sell Alcohol

It’s illegal to sell or keep a package store open to sell any alcoholic beverage during any day or hours not authorized by the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Control Act. It’s also illegal to sell or permit the sale of alcoholic beverages at a grocery store, convenience store, or drug store during any day or hours not authorized by the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Control Act.

Prior to this law, liquor stores couldn’t be open on Sundays. The change in law gave each county the right to permit Sunday sales via vote by the citizens. Several counties, including Oklahoma County, now permit liquor stores to be open on Sundays. Some stores have chosen to remain closed on Sundays even though they’re allowed to be open.

The first violation is a misdemeanor. The maximum punishment in jail is one year. It is punishable by a fine of up to $500. A second and subsequent violation of this law is a felony. The maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is five years. The range of fine is $2,500–$5,000.  The ABLE Commission will revoke the license of any person convicted of a violation of this law.

Charged with Violating Hours of Operation to Sell Alcohol in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Source: 37A O.S. § 6-123

Permitting a Person to be Intoxicated on Licensee’s Premises

It’s illegal for any licensee to allow a person to be drunk or intoxicated on the licensee’s licensed premises.

This crime is a misdemeanor. The maximum punishment in jail is 30 days. The maximum fine is $100.

Charged with Permitting a Person to be Intoxicated on Licensee’s Premises in Oklahoma? Get a free case consultation.

Source: 37A O.S. § 6-124

Current as of April 8 2020. Laws are subject to change at any time! Go to the sources cited above for the most up-to-date law.

Charged with an alcohol crime in Oklahoma? Call Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer Frank Urbanic in OKC for a free case consultation.

Don’t panic! Call Urbanic.® 405-633-3420