Ingesting alcohol or drugs and driving can land a person into serious trouble. While alcohol is an obvious intoxicant, any substance that impairs your ability to drive safely, even over the counter cold medications, can lead to a charge of DUI in Claremore, Oklahoma.
How Much Is Too Much?
It doesn’t take much. If you are driving buzzed, you are liable to get a DUI sooner or later. In Oklahoma, it is against the law for a person to drive any motor vehicle:
- with a blood alcohol content level (BAC) of .08% or higher,
- under the influence of alcohol;
- with any amount of a Schedule I chemical or controlled substance in his or her system;
- under the influence of any intoxicating substance other than alcohol which renders that person incapable of safely driving or operating a motor vehicle; or
- under the combined influence of alcohol and another intoxicant which may render such person incapable of safely driving or operating a motor vehicle.
Okla. Stat. tit. 47 § 11-902
There are Defenses Available to You
Talk to an experienced Claremore DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. There are defenses that may be available to you depending on your circumstances. The earlier you explore available defenses, the better.
Here are some of the more common defenses:
Faulty Testing Equipment: Chemical tests administered can be faulty or the sample taken may be contaminated or lost prior to trial. The field test may have been improperly calibrated or administered. If there is a problem in any of these areas, it is likely that the case will be dismissed.
Improper Stop: If the officer lacked sufficient probable cause to make the initial traffic stop, then discovering that the driver was under the influence may be inadmissible in court. If that is so, then it is likely that your case will be dismissed. This is a common and somewhat technical defense that you should explore with your attorney.
BAC was at the Legal Limit: Say you have a strong drink and get into your car immediately thereafter. If you are pulled over and given a BAC test at the police station, it could be that your BAC was at the legal limit while you were driving, even if it was at an illegal limit at the station. This is because BAC levels continue to rise for a time before they drop.
Necessity: Sometimes, you have little choice. You had wine with dinner and your child has an accident that requires a trip to the emergency room. However, with the advent of Lyft and Uber, this defense is less accepted than it once was.
Penalties for DUI in Claremore
Penalties for DUI in Claremore are steep.
A first conviction is a misdemeanor. The crime is punishable by up to a year in the county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
A second DUI conviction within 10 years of the first is a felony in Claremore. A second DUI is punishable by one to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
Repeat convictions mean even more enhanced penalties. Repeat offenders could be required to perform 480 hours of community service, serve 1 to 20 years in prison, and pay a fine of up to $5,000.
In addition, courts usually order that the defendant participate in an assessment and evaluation, and follow all the court’s recommendations based on that evaluation. This may mean attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or other substance abuse classes. If a diversion is available, enrolling in diversion could help you avoid prison time.
Finally, DUI convictions mean that your driver’s license will be suspended or revoked for some period of time. However, your Claremore lawyer may be able to persuade the court to allow limited driving privileges such as driving to and from work.
Free Consultation with an Experienced Claremore Criminal Defense Attorney
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