Did you get charged with a DWI? Learn what to do when charged with a DWI, then contact our Stillwater lawyers for a free legal consultation.
1) If You Need a DUI Attorney
Not necessarily. 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.
2) Drunk Driving Charges
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.
3) Choosing a DUI Attorney
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.
4) DUI Penalties
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.
5) How Long a DUI Stays 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.
Did you or a loved one get arrested for drunk driving in Oklahoma and have questions what to do when charged with a DWI? Contact a Stillwater DUI lawyer at Murray Law Firm today for a free confidential consultation and case evaluation. Let our experience work for you.
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