A third DUI conviction is a felony in Oklahoma. Offenders are generally looking at several years in jail, a fine, probation, substance treatment, and license suspension. However, many factors come into play with DUI sentencing. This article discusses the specific penalties you'll face if convicted of a third DUI in Oklahoma.
A person's criminal history determines if a DUI charge is a first, second, or subsequent offense. A DUI is considered a third offense if the driver has two prior DUI convictions that occurred within the past ten years. And a DUI conviction by a person with a previous felony DUI will be punished as a "third" offense—though not explicitly called a "third" offense by the DUI statute. Prior DUIs also include any conviction similar to a DUI charge from another state or municipality.
The penalties for a third DUI conviction vary depending on the circumstances. But the penalties you'll generally face for a third offense are explained below.
Before sentencing, a motorist who's convicted of a DUI must obtain a drug and alcohol evaluation from a certified assessor. The judge reviews the assessor's report and determines whether to sentence the convicted driver to jail or the assessor's recommended treatment.
A third-offense DUI carries a minimum one-year jail sentence. However, the convicted motorist can spend up to ten years behind bars. The Department of Corrections gets to decide whether the term of imprisonment should be served in jail, a substance abuse center, or the Department of Corrections substance abuse treatment program.
Judges have the option of setting aside a jail sentence for offenders who agree to abide by the recommendations of the drug and alcohol assessor. Treatment recommendations might include inpatient treatment, educational classes, and other intervention measures. If the recommendations do not require inpatient treatment of at least ten days, the court will order the convicted motorist to serve at least ten days in jail. Failure to follow treatment recommendations can result in extended jail time and license suspension.
In addition to any treatment ordered, the convicted motorist must also complete 240 hours of community service and use an ignition interlock device for up to two years.
A person who's convicted of a third DUI faces fines of up to $5,000. The judge can also order the offender to pay court costs and various other fees.
The fines are doubled for adult offenders convicted of a third-offense DUI with a minor in the vehicle. (Driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle can also lead to other criminal charges such as child endangerment.)
Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15% or more face aggravated penalties. These include at least one year of supervision and periodic testing (plus expenses) and the required use of an ignition interlock device for at least 90 days.
The court reports all DUI convictions to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. For most third-offense DUIs, the Department will disqualify a person from driving for three years. In determining the number of prior offenses for license suspensions, the Department considers any chemical test license penalties (for DUI convictions, failed tests, and unlawful test refusals) within the last ten years.
During this revocation period, the licensee can request a modified license by entering into the "Impaired Driver Accountability Program." A modified license gives the motorist limited driving privileges but requires the use of an ignition interlock device.
Licensees must complete all court-ordered treatment requirements to be eligible for license reinstatement.
If you've been arrested for driving under the influence in Oklahoma, it's a good idea to talk to a DUI lawyer. DUI law is complicated and the facts of each case are different. A qualified DUI attorney can tell you how the law applies to your case and help you decide on the best course of action.