DUI First Offense
Although driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime in the United States, most drivers expect leniency if they are a first-time offender. However, that is not always the case, especially here in Oklahoma.
Administrative vs. Criminal Penalties
One DUI arrest triggers two separate charges in Oklahoma. Under state law, a first offense carries both administrative and criminal penalties. While the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will oversee your administrative case, a judge and/or jury will determine the outcome of your criminal case.
The first consequence you will face after a DUI arrest is an automatic license suspension, which will take effect 30 days after your arrest. If you want to retain your driving privileges, you must request an administrative hearing with the DPS within 15 days after being arrested—this is the one and only opportunity you have to appeal your license suspension; otherwise, the suspension will remain in place.
Under the state’s mandatory sentencing guidelines, the criminal penalties for a first DUI offense may include up to $1,000 in fines and 10 days to one year in jail. If you were involved in a serious auto accident or were charged with any additional offenses—such as underage DUI or child endangerment, for example—you’ll face a felony punishment.
Long-term Consequences of a DUI Conviction
It is important to understand how a drunk driving conviction will impact your life after your sentence is complete. Your DUI will be permanently recorded on your criminal record, which is visible on a routine background check. What’s more, once you have been convicted of a first DUI, you will be treated as a repeat offender if you are charged with a second offense anytime within the next 10 years.
Fortunately, being arrested for DUI does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted of the charges in court. In fact, with the right defense strategy, many drivers are able to challenge their arrest and avoid the life-altering consequences of a drunk driving conviction.