Do I Need a DUI Attorney?
All kinds of people say, “I’m guilty. Can I just plead guilty in my DUI and start on probation?” The answer is no. Under the constitution of the United States, you’re going to have to have an attorney because you can be sentenced up to one year in jail. If you can’t afford one because you don’t have a job, and you’re not a student, and you’re just plain broke, you might be able to qualify for a court-appointed attorney. If you can’t get a court-appointed attorney, you need to hire an attorney to represent you.
An experienced attorney can help you a lot. First of all, our job is to make sure that the law enforcement did their job. We’ll ask for a dash cam to make sure they stopped you with probable cause, and that they did everything appropriate. We have an administrative hearing where we can talk. We can ask the officer questions.We can make sure that he did his job. We can verify whether or not the breathalyzer was used correctly. There are certain procedures and protocols they have to use to run the breathalyzer. If they didn’t do it, then we can maybe get your license back with the administrative hearing before the Department of Public Safety.
On the criminal side of the case, an experienced lawyer is helpful because we know the judges. We know the lawyers in the district attorney’s office. We know what’s a reasonable offer and what’s not a reasonable offer. We know that situations arise where you have questions. You can call up and ask, “What about this? I can’t make court today. What do I do?” There are all sorts of things that happen during the time before you enter your plea and while you’re on probation.
We have the experience. We’ve been here for over 34 years. We handle these cases regularly. We’re a phone call away. When you call, we can give you answers, and we can give you correct answers. To go with an inexperienced lawyer could be problematic for you down the road if they don’t have all the right answers.
Drunk Driving Charges
In Oklahoma, there are three different charges for driving under the influence in a vehicle. The first one is a DWI. That’s with a breath alcohol content or BAC of 0.08 or less. A DUI is when your BAC is 0.08 to 0.14. If your BAC is 0.15 and up, it’s an aggravated DUI. In the DWI, which is less than 0.08, you won’t lose your license. You’ll have to be on probation, and do a lot of education, and some community service to pay court costs, fines, and probation.If it’s a DUI, you will have to have a breath interlock device for your car. You won’t be able to drive unless you have it. What that does is, you blow into it every time you start the car. If there’s any alcohol on your breath, it won’t start. It will record that you failed the test. Every month you have to download the results, and the Department of Public Safety sees that. You have to have a breath interlock device in your car for six months if it’s a DUI. If it’s an aggravated DUI with BAC of 0.15 or more, it’s a 24-month long program you have with a breath interlock device.
Those are the three charges dealing with alcohol. Most of them on your first offense will be a deferred sentence. That means it will be dismissed and expunged from your record after you’ve completed everything in your probation including all the court costs, fines, and probationary fees. We can get it off your record, so it won’t be on the record people can see on the computer. A year after you have it dismissed, if you have no other offenses, you can get the OSPI record sealed, so no one can even know you were arrested for a DUI.
Choosing a DUI Attorney
It’s clear in Oklahoma that the system is set up where you’re going to have to hire a lawyer for your driving under the influence charge. Selecting a good DUI lawyer is important. You need to find a lawyer who has experience in DUI law. They have to be in court on a regular basis. They have to have been successful in dealing with license issues as well as suppressing evidence which lead to a DUI arrest.You need to find a lawyer that you like, a lawyer who answers your questions, a lawyer who’s available for you or their staff is available for you when you have issues. Choose a lawyer who’s going to be there for you in a year when you come off probation to help you get everything off your record and help you be able to have a clean criminal record. As you go to interviews for jobs, any type of criminal record might be the difference between getting the job and not getting the job. There’s nothing more frustrating than to hire a lawyer and a year later you can’t find that lawyer to help you get these things off your record. Make sure you have a lawyer with a good track record in the community where you are charged in. Make sure that he has staff that can adequately advise you and take care of you.
In Oklahoma, if it’s your first offense with a DUI, it’s going to be a one-year sentence or one-year jail, but most of the time it’s deferred. You’re going to have to do a drug and alcohol evaluation, an alcohol, drug, and substance abuse course, and 20 hours of community service.
You’re going to have to pay court costs and fines. You’re going to have to be on probation. You’re going to have to pay the district attorney $40 a month and the Oklahoma court services $40 a month during probation. You’re going to have to do a class called Victims’ Impact. It’s about mad mothers. You have to go and listen to how drunk driving changed their lives and their family’s lives forever. It can be expensive. You have to pay for all those classes before you can take them.If you don’t pay the things you’re supposed to, and do the things you’re supposed to, the district attorney can move to file a motion to make this a conviction which would permanently be on your record. You really want to take care of business. I believe it’s a mirror image of your life. If you take care of your responsibilities in this process, you’re going to do well in life. It doesn’t go away. Address it head on and resolve it.
Second DUI Penalties
In Oklahoma, when you’re charged with your second DUI, it depends on what jurisdiction you get charged in. A lot of times, with your first DUI, you would have gotten a deferred sentence. For the second DUI, you’re probably going to get a conviction that we will not be able to take off your record. It will be on your record permanently.Anytime that you get another DUI, it’s going to be a felony DUI. The second DUI is going to be a conviction. You might have some jail time, but not a lot. It’s definitely becoming more serious and signals that you have a problem.
Third Offense DUI Penalties
In Oklahoma, if you get charged with a third DUI, and all the DUIs have been within 10 years, there’s a very good chance that that’s going to be a felony and a very good chance you might have some jail time, or you might be ordered to go to inpatient treatment or some significant alcohol rehab.
An aggravated DUI is a DUI that happens when your breath alcohol content is measured at 0.15 or more. You measure your BAC with what they call a breathalyzer. They take you to the police station; you blow into this machine.It quantifies your alcohol in your breath. You also get an aggravated DUI if you refuse to take the breathalyzer test. It’s a no-win situation if you’re seriously are impaired. A lot of times, it pays to take the test as opposed not to take the test.
DUI with a Child in the Car
If you are drinking and driving and you have children in the car, then there are a lot of things that are going to happen. One, you’re going to be charged with a DUI. You’ll also be charged with endangering a child. There’s a good chance the Department of Human Services will come in and take the child away from you. Either call another parent, call a family, or put the child in foster care.It’s a dangerous situation and it will not be taken lightly by the courts. They want to protect children. The bigger situation will probably be with the Department of Human Services and the custody and placement of your child.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
In Oklahoma, if you are charged with a drug DUI, more often than not, they’re going to have to take you to the hospital for a blood test. Reason being is if you blew into a breathalyzer, you wouldn’t show any alcohol because you’re on some type of controlled dangerous substance. They’ll send your information and your blood sample out to a lab. In probably two months or so, that would come back. If you showed any substances that you shouldn’t have in your system in your system, then there’s a chance you could be charged with a drug DUI.After that, it’s pretty much the same type of penalties and sentences and probation as a DUI. If it’s your first offense, it will be a one-year deferred sentence. You’ll have to do an evaluation. You’ll have to do some alcohol/substance abuse course. They’ll give you community service, and you’ll have to pay court costs and fines.
DUI Jail Time
If you’re charged with a DUI and arrested, you’ll spend a night in jail. They want you to do that so you’ll sober up before they let you go. Most of the time on a first or maybe even second DUI, you won’t do any jail time.You’ll do jail time however if there is any other crime committed with a DUI like if you hurt or kill somebody, or if you’re involved in some type of a drug situation, you might do jail time. On your first alcohol offense, you will not do any more jail time than your initial night in jail.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?
When you’re charged and enter a plea to a DUI in Oklahoma, you’re more likely than not going to be on probation for one year if it’s your first offense. After one year, if everything is completed, all your requirements and terms and conditions of probation are finished, all your money’s paid, and all your classwork’s done, it will be dismissed and expunged from your record. That’s called the 991. What that means, it’s taken off of OSCN.net, which is the Oklahoma Supreme Courts Network, and people can’t search your name and see your name on the public information.A year after you’ve been dismissed and expunged from the Oklahoma State Supreme Court Network, you can file what they call a Section 18 and 19, the sealing your record on the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s record. That means your plea and your dismissal is sealed so no one can see it. If it’s your first offense, it will be off your public record in a year after you enter a plea, and off of the OSBI record after one year after it’s been removed from the public record.
Losing Your License Over a DUI
The first question everybody always asks when they get a DUI is, “Am I going to lose my license?” There are a couple ways you can look at this. One, you could potentially lose your license. If your BAC was 0.08 to 0.14, you’re going to lose it for six months. If it’s 0.15 or more, you can lose it for two years.
However, you can ask for a modified license in which they put a breath interlock device in your car during those periods of time. Then you can drive as long as you blow in the interlock device before you start the car and have no BAC. If you refuse to take the test when you’re asked to by an officer after initially being pulled over, then you’re immediately going to lose your license for two years. You’re not going to be able to drive for two years or you’ll have to use a breath interlock device to drive for those two years.You may be wondering if you can drive a company vehicle or will you have to put the interlock device in your company car. The answer is no. You have to put the breath interlock device into your personal car. Then you need to advise your employer that you have a DUI. He’ll have to send a letter to the Department of Public Safety saying that he agrees to let you drive his car even though you have a DUI. That’s how you get around that.
That’s the worst-case scenario. The best-case scenario is that we find out from the dash cam, or from the investigative officer’s report that they didn’t follow the procedures. That the breathalyzer was administered to you inappropriately and not by protocol, or that the officer stopped you without probable cause. If those things happen, then we can keep your license. It’s difficult to win on those cases, but we have done it.
Did you or a loved one get arrested for drunk driving in Oklahoma? Read these 12 DUI Tips, then contact a Stillwater DUI attorney at Murray Law Firm today.