When facing a DUI charge, you may not know what will happen during your trial. As such, understanding how the case will proceed and what your rights are is essential. The following blog explores what you must know about these charges, whether or not you are entitled to a jury trial, and how an OKC criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate the charges against you.

When Is a DUI a Felony?

In Oklahoma, a felony driving under the influence is a serious charge issued in a number of circumstances. Generally, a first-time DUI is charged as a misdemeanor. However, if you are under the influence and cause great bodily harm, it is likely this will be charged as a felony regardless of whether or not it is your first offense. Similarly, if you’re under the influence and someone dies as a result of the injuries sustained in the collision, you can face a felony manslaughter charge.

However, many drivers are charged with a felony DUI in Oklahoma for driving while intoxicated for a second time within a ten-year span. As previously mentioned, most first-time DUIs are charged as a misdemeanor. Those caught for this crime for a second or third time within ten years of a conviction or deferred sentence will face a felony.

What Is a Jury Trial?

A jury trial is a trial of peers who will hear the case before determining whether or not the defendant is guilty or not guilty of the crimes they are charged with. In Oklahoma, all defendants facing criminal charges with potential fines of $1,500 or more have the right to a jury trial. In cases where the amount is less, they may face a bench trial in which the judge will hear the case and issue a verdict.

If you are facing a felony charge in Oklahoma, you will have a trial in front of twelve jurors instead of six, which is the case for misdemeanor charges. You have the right to waive your right to a jury trial and proceed to a bench trial. However, the prosecution and defense must both agree to this. It’s also essential to consult an attorney before waiving your right to a jury of your peers.

What Should I Do if I’m Facing a Charge?

If you are facing a felony DUI charge, it’s imperative to reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Unfortunately, you can face time in prison, a suspended license, an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for up to eight years, and up to $5,000 in fines.

At the Jones Firm, PLLC, our knowledgeable and experienced legal team can help you through this complex process. Unfortunately, many defendants are unaware of their rights during trials. As such, we will help ensure your right to a trial of your peers is met. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.