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New DUI Law Increases Penalties for Drunk Driving in Oklahoma

Legislation recently signed into law in Oklahoma will effectively increase the penalties associated with DUI accidents that result in great bodily harm to another person. Under current Oklahoma law, any person driving under the influence of alcohol who causes great bodily harm to another driver, passenger or pedestrian faces a maximum sentence of five years …

Legislation recently signed into law in Oklahoma will effectively increase the penalties associated with DUI accidents that result in great bodily harm to another person. Under current Oklahoma law, any person driving under the influence of alcohol who causes great bodily harm to another driver, passenger or pedestrian faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. According to the new law, named House Bill 2568, by state Rep. Harold Wright, that maximum sentence will be increased to ten years in prison. “A five-year maximum sentence for crippling someone for the rest of their lives is not my idea of justice,” said Wright (R-Weatherford). “Increasing the maximum penalty ensures that prosecutors can pursue an appropriate penalty, according to the severity of the crime. I also hope it will further deter this dangerous practice of driving under the influence.”

Legal Limit in Oklahoma and DUI Penalties

The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in Oklahoma is .08%, which means any OK driver with a BAC of .08% or more is considered intoxicated and will face legal consequences if pulled over by authorities. Without taking into consideration harm inflicted on another person, the penalties in Oklahoma for drunk driving are as follows:

  • First offense (misdemeanor) – Jail time between ten days and one year; fine of up to $1,000
  • Second offense within 10 years of first (felony) – Jail time between one and five years; fine of up to $2,500
  • Second felony offense (felony) – Jail time between one and seven years; fine of up to $5,000
  • Third or subsequent offense (felony) – Jail time between one and ten years; fine of up to $5,000

If your Oklahoma DUI accident results in great bodily harm to another person, the state can charge you with a felony regardless of whether or not you have had any prior convictions. If a death results from the drunk driving accident, you can be charged with manslaughter, which carries up to life in the state penitentiary.

Oklahoma City Criminal Defense Attorneys for DUI Offenses

More than 3,000 injuries were caused by drunk driving accidents in Oklahoma in 2010, according to data from the National Highway Safety Administration and the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. “It’s a top cause of deaths and of severe injuries, here in the state and nationally,” Wright said. “We have to do what we can to address it.” By “addressing” this issue, lawmakers in Oklahoma are seeking more stringent penalties for drunk drivers who cause great bodily harm to another person. If you or a loved one is facing penalties such as these in Oklahoma, contact an OK criminal defense attorney for legal help. The outcome of your case can depend greatly on the expertise of your legal counsel; with the help of an Oklahoma City criminal defense lawyer, you can ensure that you have a qualified and professional legal representative on your side.

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