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What happens when you get charged with a DUI?

If a law enforcement officer in Oklahoma stops you on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, there is a good chance that you will face a DUI. If you have never been charged with a DUI, it can be helpful to know what to expect should you get pulled over on the way home from a bar, restaurant or sporting event.

Criminal charges

The first issue you will have to confront is the fact that you may be charged with a criminal offense before a municipal or state court. For most first-time offenders, the charges consist of misdemeanor DUI; however, there are a few types of aggravating factors that can elevate the charges.

In most cases of straightforward first-time DUI, defendants will not spend time in jail, although a few specific courts do enforce short jail terms. Instead, you may have the option of serving a one-year suspended sentence. This means you will be on probation and can stay out of jail as long as you comply with the terms, which typically include some fines, a number of work hours and attending courses.

License suspension

Criminal consequences are not the only ones you could face. Driving is a privilege, not a right. The Department of Public Safety can take away these privileges. The DPS will suspend your license automatically after 15 days unless you request a hearing to challenge the suspension or request a modified license.

The DPS may be willing to issue a modified license that you will be able to use during your suspension as long as you meet certain conditions, including installing an ignition interlock device. You can also request a hearing to contest the decision to suspend your license. However, if you win that hearing but lose your criminal case, your license will still be suspended.

Other considerations

Factors that can aggravate a DUI charge include a BAC of 0.15 percent or more , the presence of a child in your vehicle and previous DUI offenses. In such cases, depending on the circumstances, you may be looking at penalties that include jail time and even a felony conviction.

A DUI conviction can also have a serious impact on your ability to practice as a licensed professional. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other professionals may have to meet additional requirements set forth by their licensing organizations.

A DUI can have serious consequences for many aspects of your life. If you are ever involved in a DUI, remember that it is important to get help from a qualified professional. A seasoned defense attorney can evaluate your case and come up with effective strategies.

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Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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