When many think of a DUI charge, they may falsely assume they will walk away with a stern warning or short license suspension. However, this is far from the truth. In reality, Oklahomans charged with this crime will likely face misdemeanor charges. In certain circumstances, however, you may face a felony DUI charge. If charged with a felony crime, understanding the penalties and consequences of this charge is vital. The following blog explores what you should know regarding this offense and how an Oklahoma City felony defense lawyer can represent you if charged.
When Is a DUI a Felony in Oklahoma?
When you are found driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.08% or higher in Oklahoma, you will face a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. If your BAC is less than 0.08%, which is the legal limit, you can still face charges if there is alcohol in your system and the police determine it has impacted your ability to operate a vehicle. Most first-offense DUIs are charges as misdemeanors in Oklahoma.
However, you can face felony charges for a DUI under certain circumstances. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Driving under the influence with a minor child in the vehicle
- Having a prior DUI conviction on your record within the past ten years
- Having a BAC higher than 0.15%, which warrants an aggravated DUI charge
- You were involved in an accident that caused serious bodily harm
- Someone died as a result of the accident
It’s also important to note that if someone is killed because of an accident you caused while driving under the influence, you could also face a manslaughter charge as well.
What Are the Penalties for This Offense?
If charged and subsequently convicted of a felony DUI, the penalties you can face are intense. Where a misdemeanor warrants a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, a felony charge carries the potential for twenty years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, and the suspension of your driver’s license for up to eight years.
It’s also important to understand that a felony charge can have a dramatic impact on your life, as you may lose the right to vote, own firearms, or travel freely. Additionally, a felony can impact custody of your children and career opportunities.
What Should I Do if Charged with a Felony DUI?
Though it may not seem possible to defend a felony DUI, working with an experienced attorney will give you the chance to receive a more favorable outcome for your circumstances. Depending on your situation, you may be able to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed. However, this is often only possible with the help of an experienced attorney.
At the Jones Firm, our dedicated legal team understands how complex these matters can be. As such, we will work with you to explore all possible defenses so we can help you achieve the best outcome possible. Contact us today to learn how we can fight for you during these times.