Back in June of 2017, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed State Bill 643, amending the DUI laws in the State of Oklahoma. The changes in the bill referred to as the “Impaired Driving Elimination Act 2” went into effect on November 1, 2017. There are many small changes to the Oklahoma DUI Law contained within the Act, but there are two changes of some significance that you should be made aware of.
- Requirement of Interlock Devices/ Creation of the Department of Public Safety Impaired Driver Accountability Program
- Criminalization of the Refusing to take a breathalyzer test.
In the Bill Summary prepared on May 24, 2017, the legislature stated the following regarding the Act:
- Stipulates DPS create an Impaired Driver Accountability Program (IDAP)
- A $200 fee is established per participant.
- The measure establishes a fee for a restricted driver’s license at $50 in addition to the IDAP program fee of $200 which will be deposited into the Public Safety Restricted Revolving (245) Fund.
- Creates the following schedule of penalties relating to the ignition interlock device:
|Knowingly allowing a person required to use an interlock device to drive a vehicle without one||A misdemeanor with a fine up to $500 and/or up to 6 months in county jail|
|Willfully attempting to interfere with the proper functioning of the interlock device||A misdemeanor with a fine up to $500 and/or up to 6 months in county jail|
|A person who is required to drive a vehicle with an interlock device who does not (with the exception of an employer’s vehicle)||A misdemeanor with a fine up to $500 and/or up to 6 months in county jail|
It should be noted that the interlock device is not anything new in the State of Oklahoma. Ignition interlock systems are devices used to prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking alcohol. The device uses a built-in breathalyzer and set to a pre-programmed amount. If the driver blows into the device and exceeds that amount, the interlock locks the vehicle’s ignition. The driver is not only required to pass a breathalyzer test to start the vehicle equipped with an interlock device, but the driver is required to continue to pass breathalyzer tests as they are operating the vehicle. Failure to take the test or failure of any test will result in the disabling of the vehicle. These interlock devices will allow someone to operate a vehicle after receiving a DUI or DWI charge that has resulted in the suspension of one’s drivers license. The cost of an interlock device can quickly add up as there are installation fees and monthly monitoring fees. The current Oklahoma law requires interlock devices for first-time offenders when he or she has provided a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or more (aggravated driving under the influence). The current Oklahoma law also provides provisions for more severe interlock restrictions for subsequent DUI offenses. The new Oklahoma law that went into effect on November 1, 2017, will require interlock devices for all convictions or pleas in all DUI offenses.
The ignition interlock device shall be installed at the expense of the person after the mandatory period of revocation has ended for the following periods, as applicable: For a first revocation and if the person refused to submit to a test or tests, or had a blood or breath alcohol concentration of fifteen hundredths (0.15) or more, for a period of one and one-half (1 ½) years following the mandatory period of revocation or until the driving privileges of the person are reinstated, whichever is longer; For a second revocation, for a period of four (4) years following the mandatory period of revocation or until the driving privileges of the person are reinstated, whichever is longer; or For a third or subsequent revocation, for a period of five (5) years following the mandatory period of revocation or until the driving privileges of the person are reinstated, whichever is longer.
An ignition interlock device is also required to be installed upon employer vehicles operated by the person except when the employer requests the ignition interlock device not be installed. The request shall be in writing and notarized on the official letterhead of the employer and provided by the person to DPS. Under certain circumstances, such as where the person is self-employed or owns part of the company, the person is employed by relatives within the first degree of consanguinity or the person resides in the same household as the employer, or when the person has had a prior revocation, DPS will not accept the request to allow the company vehicle to be driven by the person without the device being installed. When an ignition interlock device is installed, the ignition interlock provider will provide the person a certificate of installation to be given to DPS as proof of installation.
Offenders will have the option of entering the Impaired Driver Accountability Program or challenging the DUI charge through the court process. The IDAP program requires strict compliance with the rules of the IDAP but will allow the offender to obtain a clean record following the completion of the program. Here is the IDAP rundown: Only first-time DUI offenders would be eligible to enter the program. Participants could have their license revocation reduced from one year to six months. If they successfully complete the program, their driving record will reflect that as well as no revocation, which will prevent higher insurance rates and will make seeking employment easier. Participants will also not be charged any reinstatement fees. Those wishing to enter IDAP would have ten days from the date of their arrest to submit their application form. They would also have to have an ADSAC or DUI assessment reflecting a treatment category of I or II within 45 days as well as provide proof of installation of an interlock device. Participants would also be required to not receive any verified ignition violations during their last 60 days in the program.
Anyone who refuses to go into the program will be required to have a modified license and an interlock device on their vehicle for one year (rather than the current 180 days) before they can reinstate their license. The revocation will go on their record. SB 643 makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to operate a non-interlock vehicle for a drunk driver who is in the IDAP program or has an interlock restricted license. It would also make refusing a breath test following a suspected drunk driving arrest a misdemeanor punishable by up to ten days in jail or a $1,000 fine.
At Jones Brown PLLC we are here to help answer your questions. Legal matters can be complicated, our experts are on hand to help inform you of every aspect regarding your topic. A DUI (driving under the influence), DWI (driving while impaired), or APC (actual physical control) charge is very serious, and you have a limited amount of time in Oklahoma to defend your right to drive. Although the differences between DUI and DWI are not well understood, there is a difference, and it is determined by your blood-alcohol content (BAC). Alcohol isn’t the only drug that can impair your judgment and reaction time and is therefore not the only substance for which you can be charged with a DUI. If you or a loved one has been charged with an Oklahoma DUI, DWI or APC contact Jones Brown PLLC immediately and receive the legal representation that you need and deserve.
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