When most people think of DUI charges, they typically think of driving under the influence of alcohol. However, these charges also apply to certain types of drugs.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a very serious crime in Oklahoma. It can result in jail time, high fines, and even a driver’s license revocation. However, these laws do not only apply to driving under the influence of alcohol in the state. If a driver is found with drugs in their system and an officer believes those drugs impaired the motorist’s ability to drive, they may also face DUI charges. Due to the harsh penalties, it is crucial that anyone charged with a DUI for drugs speaks to a Tulsa DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.
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DUI Defined in Oklahoma
The statute governing driving under the influence in Oklahoma defines a DUI as:
- Operating a motor vehicle with a breath or blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more,
- Operating a motor vehicle with any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance in the saliva, blood, or other bodily fluid,
- Driving under the influence of any intoxicating substance that could impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle or,
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and any other intoxicating substance that could impair a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Due to the fact that some drugs may stay in a person’s system for a long time, these laws are harsh, although they may seem to make sense at first glance.
Drug Levels in the Blood
In Oklahoma, law enforcement officials are required to administer any test that detects alcohol or drugs within two hours of the arrest. Under the statute, anyone found with any amount of a drug, its metabolites, or its analog in the body is guilty of a DUI. This is extremely harsh for two main reasons.
The first of these is that if there is even a trace of drugs in the system, a person will face charges, even if he or she was driving in a safe manner and were not impaired. Often, law enforcement officers will pull someone over and ask if the driver has taken any drugs. In this instance, individuals that are questioned are often not aware of the law and may admit to taking a drug such as opioids the day before.
Eager in the pursuit of making an arrest, the officer may then ask the driver to submit to a drug test. If the driver agrees to the test and trace amounts of opioids are found, they can be found guilty of a DUI even though they were not impaired. If the driver refuses the test, it is treated as a refusal, which has its own consequences in Oklahoma.
Some drugs remain in a person’s system for a long time. For example, in heavy marijuana users, THC remains in a person’s system for as long as 30 days. Even if the person has not used marijuana in a few weeks, he or she may still be found guilty of driving under the influence. The fact that these drivers may still face DUI charges even when they have not consumed drugs in a while, and even though there was no impairment, makes Oklahoma’s DUI charges involving drugs even harsher.
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Facing DUI Charges? Call Our Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you have been charged with any type of DUI, it is crucial that you speak to a Tulsa criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. These charges have serious consequences for those convicted, but an attorney can help you avoid them. At the Law Firm of BDIW Law, we have the experience necessary to build a solid defense for your case, so you have the best chance of a positive outcome. Call us today at (918) 728-6500 to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys.
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