DUI is most commonly charged as a misdemeanor in Oklahoma. However, there are circumstances when this already serious charge is elevated to a felony.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor
The primary difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is the type of penalties associated with the offense. As the less severe of the two charges, a misdemeanor carries a maximum $1,000 fine and one-year jail sentence. The standard sentence for a felony DUI conviction includes a prison sentence of one to 20 years, up to $5,000 in fines, and an eight- year driver’s license suspension.
A felony DUI conviction will also cost you your driver’s license. Depending on the nature of your offense, your driving privileges may be revoked for as long as three years. To prevent future arrests, the court may even require you to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle—ensuring your vehicle will only start after you successfully perform a breathalyzer.
Finally, you can expect to encounter difficulties in your personal life with a felony conviction on your record. For example, convicted felons often lose their right to vote, purchase firearms, and obtain a passport. Applying for a new job or housing can also be challenging.
So how will you know if your DUI is classified as a felony or a misdemeanor? In most cases, that will depend on your previous history. If you have been convicted of DUI within the last 10 years, a subsequent charge will be classified as a felony. A DUI may also be elevated to a felony if you were involved in a serious auto accident, or were travelling with a minor at the time of your arrest.
As you can see, a felony DUI constitution can cause countless problems in the future—and that is exactly why it is best to avoid a conviction by creating a strong defense as soon as possible.