Like many states, Oklahoma has legalized the medical use of marijuana. But operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana or any other intoxicating substance is still very much illegal.
This article explains what constitutes drugged driving and the penalties for a conviction in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma has two types of drug-related DUI: per se DUIs and DUIs based on impairment.
In some states, per se DUI laws apply only to alcohol (usually, having a BAC of .08% or more is considered a per se DUI). However, Oklahoma is one in a handful of states that also have per se DUI laws that apply to drugs.
To convict a driver for a per se DUI, the state need only show that the driver had a measurable amount of a schedule I controlled substance in his or her body. The list of qualifying substances includes marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and medications like oxycodone.
Basically, a driver can be convicted of a per se DUI if he or she has any amount of any of these substances in his or her system.
To get an impairment DUI conviction, the state must prove the motorist was incapable of safely operating a vehicle due to ingesting an intoxicating substance. Evidence of impairment might include things like blood test results along with expert testimony about the substances' effects. The prosecution might also have the arresting officer testify regarding any observations that could suggest the driver was under the influence of drugs. With impairment DUIs, a valid prescription isn't a legal defense.
The penalties for an Oklahoma drugged driving offense are generally identical to those for a drunk driving conviction.
First offense. A first drugged driving offense will result in ten days to one year in jail, having to attend a victim impact panel, and up to $1,000 in fines. The offender must also complete a substance abuse evaluation and follow any recommended treatment or sobriety program.
Second offense. An offender can be charged with a second-offense DUI if he or she has a prior DUI conviction within the last ten years. Generally, a second drugged driving offense is a felony and will result in one to five years in prison, having to attend a victim impact panel, and up to $2,500 in fines. The offender must complete a substance abuse evaluation and serve at least five days in jail or inpatient treatment. If the judge grants probation, the offender will be subject to electronic monitoring.
An impaired driving incident will generally result in driver's license penalties. License-related penalties can result from an arrest and/or conviction.
A driver's license will be suspended for at least 180 days for a first DUI offense. A second DUI offense within ten years results in a minimum one-year license suspension.
During the revocation period, drivers must enroll in the state's Impaired Driver Accountability Program. This program grants limited driving privileges via an ignition interlock device but also requires satisfactory completion of the program prior to license reinstatement.
Under Oklahoma's test refusal statutes, a driver who unlawfully refuses to submit to a blood or urine test will face the same license suspension as if the driver had been convicted of a DUI.
All court-ordered treatment and substance abuse programs must be completed prior to license reinstatement.
A DUI can lead to severe consequences in Oklahoma. So, if you've been arrested for driving under the influence, getting legal help is a good idea. A qualified DUI lawyer can explain how the law applies in your case and help you decide on the best course of action.