Oklahoma Drunk Driving Laws Are Changing, Again

oklahoma drunk driving There’s trouble brewing in the world of Oklahoma drunk driving law, and it could have a major effect on how first-time DUI offenders are penalized after an arrest. The Oklahoma Supreme Court has just ruled that a new drunk driving law, the Impaired Driver Elimination Act, is unconstitutional.

Backing up to March of 2017, the Oklahoma State Senate passed new legislation that would change how a first time Oklahoma drunk driving offender would be treated under the eyes of the law. The new program was called the Impaired Driver Elimination Act, and it would allow first time offenders to reduce their driver’s license suspension from one year to six months when they install an ignition interlock in their vehicle.

If these offenders completed the program they would not have the charge appear on their driver’s license record, and that means they can continue to work, drive their family, and move on with their lives without having to lose jobs or take a bus.

This new law was signed by the Governor in June of 2017 and took effect in November 2017. Just one month later, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck it down. They ruled that this new program, requiring ignition interlocks for first time offenders, violated constitutional guidelines.

Specifically, there are 17 sections in the new law that dealt with driver’s license suspensions, ignition interlock devices, and blood and breathalyzer test. Combined, they denied a suspect his or her due process rights, and because of that the new law must be struck down.

The decision was 5-4 and it was made by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, so it’s unlikely the law as it was written will see the light of day again. That’s unfortunate, because the bottom line with a program like this is that it offers offenders a chance to quickly get back on track with their lives after a DUI conviction.

With an ignition interlock on your car, the court will be satisfied you’re not going to drive drunk again. When you have that interlock you shouldn’t be tempted to drink and drive either, and having the option to have that DUI conviction cleared from your record is something many convicted drunk drivers would opt for.

What will the state of Oklahoma come up with to replace the Impaired Driver Elimination Act? Hopefully it will include ignition interlocks as an option for all first time offenders, because that’s the best way to stop a drunk driver from driving drunk again.

Could Ignition Interlock Laws Sweep The Country This Year?

ignition interlock lawsIgnition interlock laws have officially begun to take over the nation, and although there have been a few bumps in the road for some states, 2017 could be the year that the majority of states make the decision to require all drunk driving offenders to use the device.

Here are a few updates in the world of ignition interlock laws.

Oklahoma

It won’t be effective until November 1st, 2017, but Oklahoma State Bill 643 has crossed the desk of the Governor and received the signature required to make it law. There are a few things that this new law will put into place in Oklahoma. To start, Oklahoma will now require ignition interlocks for every offender including first times offenders who are arrested with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or over.

The new law will also create an Impaired Driver Accountability Program (IDAP), and that program will assist any first-time offender with rehabilitation while they are using their ignition interlock.

Nevada

Ignition interlock laws are scheduled to change in Nevada thanks to a new bill that’s just been signed. Senate Bill 259 was signed into law by the Governor and will be in effect as of October 1st, 2018.

The new law changes the current ignition interlock law to require anyone arrested for drunk driving to use an interlock for a 90-day period. Once that person is convicted, he or she will be required to use the interlock for at least six months. This is a big switch from the current laws that only require ignition interlocks for first offenders who are arrested with a BAC over .018, although a judge is able to ask a first offender to use an interlock for three to six months if they deem it necessary.

The summer is still young, and these are just two ignition interlock laws that have been signed into law over the past month. Could there be more before the summer is out?

Friday Fallout: Laws Have Changed For Oklahoma Drunk Drivers

Oklahoma drunk driversIt took a bit of effort to pass it, but Oklahoma now has a brand new drunk driving law. A Senate Bill that toughens up penalties for Oklahoma drunk drivers has been signed, sealed, and delivered into law by Governor Mary Fallin.

The new law gives Oklahoma drunk drivers a few options when they are stopped and charged with drunk driving. Option one allows them to immediately install an ignition interlock in their vehicles and attend a diversionary program. A diversionary program in Oklahoma may involve the offender performing community service or completing a DUI class.

friday-falloutOption two for Oklahoma drunk drivers is the wait and see approach. That means the offender can wait for their criminal case to go to court, and at that time they will see if their driver’s license suspension is upheld or dismissed. Under the new law Oklahoma drunk drivers will also be in hot water if they decline to submit to a breathalyzer, because it is now illegal to refuse.

Although organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are supportive of the new laws because it allows an offender to immediately install and drive with an ignition interlock, not everyone is on board.

DUI attorneys in the state are believe that the new law violates the rights of Oklahoma drunk drivers. They believe that a citizen needs to be allowed their due process rights and if they are required to immediately install an ignition interlock, that will presume guilt. They’ve vowed to challenge the new laws in court.

But what they don’t mention is that most Oklahoma drunk drivers are convicted after a drunk driving arrest, and an immediate ignition interlock lets that person get on with his or her life. If they’d like to take a chance and not drive until their hearing, everything in life that requires driving is put on hold. You can’t drive the kids to school or drive to their job, and they might end up with an ignition interlock in their car anyway if the judge requires one.

If that’s the case, why would any Oklahoma drunk driver choose anything other an ignition interlock?

The Friday Fallout: Every Friday Guardian Interlock will bring you a unique drunk driving case that demonstrates the impact, or fallout, of drunk driving.

The Ultimate Irony: Drunk Driving Video Crashed By Drunk Driver

drunk driving OklahomaPublic service announcements (PSAs) are one of the ways that anti-drunk driving groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and local law enforcement raise public awareness on the dangers of drunk driving. These PSAs take on all shapes and forms, from shocking to tragic to attempts at dark humor, and all are designed to get people to think twice about drunk driving.

But these PSAs haven’t stopped drunk drivers so far, and it’s sort of ironic of that a man suspected of drunk driving drove straight onto the set of a drunk driving awareness video that was being filmed by a few film students for the Oklahoma Valley Brook Police Department.

It turns out that the man, Ricky Reese, swerved toward the set when he was driving early one morning. He didn’t seem to want to stop when he saw people either, and bystanders saw him hit the gas and accelerate before they jumped out of the way. The driver kept going but was stopped by police shortly after, and when he submitted to a breathalyzer test his blood alcohol content (BAC) was double the legal limit at 0.17.

Thankfully no one was hurt during this bizarre incident, and because he’s a four time repeat offender in Oklahoma, he’s in a lot of trouble for his drunk drive. According to Oklahoma drunk driving law he could spend up to ten years in jail, pay fines up to $5,000, and lose his driver’s license for up to three years. He’ll also have to install an ignition interlock in any vehicle he drives for three years after his driver’s license suspension.

It must have been pretty bizarre for the filmmakers to be actively filming their drunk driving PSA and have a drunk driver try to run them down. Thankfully no one was hurt, but on the positive side they probably felt reaffirmed in their mission to finish the PSA and stop drunk drivers like Reese. Even if it stops just one person from making the same mistake, it’s worth it.

Another Drunk Driving Loophole Bites The Dust In Oklahoma

drunk driving law OklahomaCatching drunk drivers is one thing, but keeping them off the roads is something else entirely. That’s why closing loopholes in drunk driving law is so important. Take one loophole in Oklahoma for example: drunk drivers were able to avoid being arrested for a repeat offense because driving under the influence (DUI) cases weren’t being sent to courts of record. That means if someone is arrested in one county but decides to drink and drive in another, their case stays in a non-court of record and he or she could potentially be treated as a first time offender over and over again.

Thankfully, that’s all about to change because Oklahoma just passed House Bill 3146. The new law came into effect on November 1st, 2016, and it will move all DUI cases from municipal non-courts of record to a court of record.

Having that permanent log of DUI cases will give police the power to protect drivers in Oklahoma from repeat drunk drivers who are potentially skirting penalties. After all, wouldn’t a drunk driver rather receive a thirty day driver’s license suspension for a first offense than six months for a second? They also get to skip an ignition interlock: a penalty that would prevent them from drinking and driving over and over again. First time drunk drivers in Oklahoma aren’t required to install an ignition interlock unless their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over .15%, but repeat offenders are, and that’s a good reason for any drunk driver to want these loopholes to remain open.

Tightening Oklahoma drunk driving law is a step in the right direction, and now lawmakers might want to move onto the possibility of lowering the BAC in which first time offenders are required to use an ignition interlock. Most all offender ignition interlock laws require anyone arrested with a BAC of .08 to take part in the program, and that single step will take even more drunk drivers off the roads in Oklahoma.

Making New Breathalyzer Rules Considered An Emergency In Oklahoma

breathalyzer rules oklahoma Police put a lot of effort into making an arrest, and the last thing they want is for a drunk driver they stopped, assessed, and arrested to slip through the net of the law and evade their drunk driving conviction. It happens all the time, and after a court handed down the decision that Oklahoma’s breathalyzer tests were invalid, the police in the county are going to have to get more creative in dealing with drunk drivers.

The case was Eric Sample vs Department of Public Safety. After a district judge ruled that the Board of Tests For Alcohol and Drug Influence didn’t approve some parts of a breathalyzer used to test drunk drivers in the state, the man’s drunk driving conviction was overturned and he got his license back.

But one overturned drunk driving conviction has the potential to start a tidal wave of challenges to other convictions in Oklahoma, so officials created emergency rules so it can’t happen over and over again. These rules will be sent to the Governor’s office for his signature and once he signs off, they will be effective immediately.

These challenges won’t be good news in a state where drunk drivers are already a serious challenge for police officers, and if these drivers have their drunk driving conviction overturned because of a technicality, they won’t receive penalties for their crime.

One of those penalties, ignition interlocks, will stop these drunk drivers in their tracks. Since the Erin Swezey Act was passed in 2011, first time drunk drivers in Oklahoma have the option of installing an ignition interlock instead of receiving a six month driver’s license suspension. Ignition interlocks are mandatory for repeat offender in the state.

If an Oklahoma drunk driving conviction is overturned because of a breathalyzer technicality, that person gets to skip his fines, skip his driver’s license suspension, and skip his ignition interlock. That’s a huge risk for anyone driving on the roads with that driver, and if more and more people come forward to challenge these laws, Oklahoma’s going to be a more dangerous state to drive in.

Caught Drunk Driving? Here’s What A DUI In Oklahoma Will Cost You

DUI in OklahomaA lot of people who have received a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction tend to panic and turn to Google to find out just what that DUI will cost them. The answer isn’t as cut and dried as you might think.

Take the state of Oklahoma for example: if you look at it on paper the answer seems simple, but if you want to find out exactly what a DUI in Oklahoma will cost you, you’ll have to dig a little. Here’s a few ways a DUI in Oklahoma can cost you, and they aren’t all financial.

The cost to your wallet

A first DUI in Oklahoma will cost you up to one thousand dollars in fines. If you hire a lawyer to represent you, you’ll have to pay legal fees on top of that. You’ll also be required to pay fees, when the time comes, to reinstate your driver’s license.

If you were arrested with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .15, even if you are a first offender, you’ll also be required to install an ignition interlock device. The cost of that ignition interlock is paid for by the offender.

The cost to your pride

Whether your receive a DUI in Oklahoma or another state, that biggest cost of a DUI might be to your pride. You might wonder how you could have made the decision to drink and then drive, and you may find that even the simplest task are difficult now.

If someone needs a ride and you haven’t installed an ignition interlock, how can you explain why your license is suspended? If you do have an ignition interlock your passenger will probably be grateful you can’t drink and drive again, but you might find blowing into it to prove your sobriety to be a bit embarrassing.

Even if you can afford the hit to your wallet, you might not like how a DUI in Oklahoma makes you feel. Thankfully it’s pretty easy to avoid incurring all of these costs: just don’t drink and drive.

Oklahoma Court: Throw Out DUI Driver’s License Suspensions

DUI Oklahoma driver's license suspensionLaw enforcement are out on the road cracking down on drunk drivers every day, but once they stop an offender, take his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) via blood, urine, or breathalyzer, and book the individual, processing that offender’s driving under the influence (DUI) conviction moves onto other agencies.

DUI penalties like driver’s license suspensions are decided when the offender appears in court, but what happens if that individual doesn’t appear in court in a timely fashion? That’s what’s happening in Oklahoma right now, and the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals has ruled that because the Department of Public Safety didn’t schedule over twenty DUI cases, those driver’s license suspensions should be dismissed.

The Department of Public safety stated that one of the main reasons why there is a delay in processing driver’s license suspensions is because there’s such a backlog. Some hearings have been delayed up to nineteen months, and it generally takes twelve months from the time the request for a hearing is made until the individual is seen.

How does this affect the drunk driving offender? Turns out, they might get to keep driving. Although that driver will have been given notice that he or she will lose their driver’s license, that suspension doesn’t kick in for thirty days after the notice of suspension. If the driver requests an administrative hearing within fifteen days of receiving the notice, he or she can keep driving until their hearing date. If that hearing doesn’t happen for a year, that driver is free and clear to get behind the wheel for that time period.

Although this court decision isn’t going to have any bearing on whether these offenders receive a DUI conviction, it could result in a lot of other Oklahoma driver’s license suspensions being thrown out.

One of the obvious solutions to this problem is to follow the lead of a state like Texas. In Texas you can obtain an ignition interlock immediately following your arrest. You don’t have to attend a hearing and you can keep driving normally just as long as you drive with your ignition interlock and you are sober.

With Oklahoma only requiring ignition interlocks for first offenders with a BAC over .15, it might be something state lawmakers want to look into. It gives offenders an immediate way to keep driving, eliminates the loophole of requesting an administrative hearing and putting off driver’s license suspensions, and clearing the backlog of court cases could help the Department of Public Safety focus on other issues.

Drunk Driving Conviction In Oklahoma? This Could Affect You.

drunk-driving-conviction-in-oklahomaIf you’ve ever received a drunk driving conviction in Oklahoma, you probably didn’t realize that different rules could apply if you were arrested and convicted in a small city or town. Turns out, any driving under the influence (DUI) conviction you receive in a small court might not turn up on your record if you were to appear before a district court or if you were arrested in a different small city or county.

That’s because small city courts aren’t actually courts of record, so these small cities aren’t required to submit these convictions to a district court. It’s the district courts who keep track of drunk driving convictions all across Oklahoma, so DUI offenders could be getting off more easily if they receive multiple convictions in different areas.

But that’s all about to change now that a new bill is on the table. House Bill 3146, also known as the Impaired Driving Elimination Act, has passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives and is now on its way to the Senate. The bill would require that any offender charged with DUI in an area with a small city court also have their charge filed in a district court. This will create a universal database that police can rely on when they make their arrests.

Why is this so important in Oklahoma? If someone drinks and drives in Oklahoma, there are no aggravating factors like bodily injury or death of another person, and they are charged in a small city court, that offender will receive a misdemeanor.

But if that same person is charged for a repeat DUI, they’ve crashed and killed someone, they have a child in the car at the time of the offense, or it’s their third or more DUI offense, they could receive a felony charge in Oklahoma. It goes without saying that having a felony on record is a huge step up from a misdemeanor, but without the database, some offenders records don’t show up and they are able to skirt the felony charge.

House Bill 3146 is on its way to the Senate. Let’s hope it passes and everyone with a drunk driving conviction in Oklahoma is held accountable for their decision to drink and drive.

Oklahoma DUI Driver Crashed Into Police Car, Declared She’s God

Since police officers began wearing body cameras, they’ve captured some bizarre and scary footage. From roll overs to shoot outs, they’ve seen it all, but odds are a incident in Oklahoma will go down in history as the most bizarre body cam footage every captured.

It all began when police were searching for a stolen SUV. They believed they spotted the vehicle and chased the suspect through the streets, trying to pull her over safely. That’s when she decided to drive the SUV straight into the police car.

The crash is caught on both the squad car’s cam and the police officer’s body cam, and because you can hear glass breaking and the sounds of metal crunching, you get a sense of how terrifying it is when someone crashes a car due to driving under the influence (DUI).

It turns out the suspect was drunk behind the wheel, and immediately after the crash she appeared out of the top of the sunroof waving happily and yelling, “I’m God, b—h! Welcome to hell!” If that’s not bizarre enough, she seemed unhurt by the shots fired by the police and even declared, “Jesus loves you!” when interacting with the officers.

After laughing at the officers from her vehicle, they decided to taze her and pulled her out. The police’s footage is captured in the video below. A warning: the offender uses strong language.

Although it’s not known whether she was a first time or repeat offender in Oklahoma, she’s in a lot of trouble either way. According to the video, she’s received 4 felony charges. Even a first offense in Oklahoma can net jail time up to one year, fines and penalties up to $1,000, and a 30-day drivers license suspension. If you’re a repeat offender, you can expect to add an ignition interlock to those penalties.

It’s terrifying what can happen in a driving under the influence crash, and having the offender react that way must have made it that much more surreal for the police officers. It’s a great example of what they go through each and every day when trying to keep people who drink and drive off the roads.

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