Make no mistake, a DUI is a criminal offense in Oklahoma, and the law in OK for what qualifies as a DUI is relatively strict. Furthermore, Oklahoma prosecutors frequently bring DUI charges against first-time offenders. Jail time is a possibility for an OK DUI conviction, and fines and damage to your personal reputation (not to mention the effect a DUI conviction will have on your insurance rates) are a far more frequent result of a conviction.
But there are potential defenses you and your criminal defense attorney can assert to the judge presiding over your Oklahoma DUI criminal trial to help protect your rights and your interests.
Did the Police Have the Right to Stop You?
Whether you were over the legal limit or not, the police must have had a right to pull you over in order for there to be a successful conviction. The constitutional standard for when the police may pull you over is whether they had reasonable suspicion that a law was being violated, i.e. you were driving under the influence.
For example, if you were speeding or dangerously swerving between lanes, this could be reasonable suspicion. But if the police pulled you over simply to harass you and without any reasonable suspicion of illegal behavior, this may be a potential total defense to DUI charges.
Were You Truly Under the Influence?
You have probably heard of the DUI standard that a person must have a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08% to support a DUI. This is partly true, but not the whole story. Even if your BAC is under .08%, the police may arrest you for DUI if you were “under the influence of alcohol,” or under the influence of any other intoxicating substance which could render it unsafe for you to drive.
While this is a wide scope of what could be considered “under the influence,” remember that the burden in all criminal trials is for the government to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were in violation of DUI laws. Your attorney may examine the evidence presented against you and call into question the accuracy of that evidence – for example, whether a breathalyzer was properly working and/or whether sobriety tests were properly administered to you – to cast doubt on the government’s allegations.
Were You in Actual Physical Control of the Car?
In Oklahoma, you can be arrested for DUI not only if you were driving but also if you were in “actual physical control” of the car. This is a more all-encompassing rule than in other states, and may mean that you are arrested for simply sitting in your car while intoxicated. Your attorney, however, can cast doubt on the evidence and present legal arguments in your defense for why you should not be considered to have been in actual physical control of the car, thus that there should be no criminal charges against you.
Experienced Criminal Defense in Your Oklahoma DUI Matter
Oklahoma City criminal defense attorney Patrick Quillian is a former Oklahoma district attorney who relies on his years of experience in prosecuting cases to provide the best possible defense for all defendants. If you are facing criminal charges for a DUI in Oklahoma, contact the office of J. Patrick Quillian, Attorney at Law, today at 405.294.4448 to schedule a free consultation to see what his criminal defense team can do for you.