Those charged with DUI generally fall into two categories. The first category is those individuals that are charged with misdemeanor DUI (first time offenders or at least 10 years has passed since the last DUI) and those individuals that have had multiple DUI arrests and are facing the possibility of a felony conviction and/or prison. If you are a first time DUI offender and want to know what to expect an overview of what to expect is listed below.
Alcohol related driving offenses are one of the most common criminal offenses seen in the judicial system., DUI and DWI are probably the most common offenses in Tulsa, Rogers , Mayes and Okmulgee counties. Most people who are arrested for an alcohol related driving offense are people that made a mistake, want to work out the best plea agreement they can and move on with their life; for the people in that category, listed below is an overview of what you can expect if you are charged with first offense DUI, DWI or APC in the state of Oklahoma.
When you are arrested for DUI, DWI or APC you essentially have two cases to deal with, not one. You have the criminal charges that must be resolved in either municipal or state court and you have the issue of receiving a modified driver's license that must be handled with the Department of Public Safety. This article will address the criminal case first.
Most counties in the state of Oklahoma realize that they simply do not have the resources to incarcerate first time DUI , DWI , and APC offenders. First time offenders in and around Tulsa County are rarely are sentenced to jail for a first offense DUI , DWI , and APC . I would hesitate to say never, but feel comfortable saying that it almost never happens. (This is especially true for individuals charged in Tulsa Municipal Courts in and around Tulsa.) A big exception to first time offenders not facing jail time is Washington County, it is my understanding that first time offenders in Washington County are routinely sentenced to jail time of 7 days.
The short answer is a lot. DUI, DWI and APC cases are so common that in most county and municipal courts the prosecutor's office has a "standard recommendation" for first time offenders is listed below:
This is a standard recommendation for first time offenders charged with DUI in Tulsa county. It is only a recommendation (Which means it is the plea offer that the prosecutor extends to the defendant) a defendant always has the option of a jury trial or a "blind plea". A "blind plea" is a plea made to the judge without a plea agreement with the state. With a blind plea the defendant can receive a more lenient sentence or a more severe sentence.
The "standard recommendation" (listed above) of the Tulsa County District Attorney's office is pretty typical. The one down side to that recommendation is that the Tulsa county District Attorney's office wants suspended sentence for misdemeanor DUI and will not offer reductions to DWI. The reason is that first time DUIs are misdemeanors, but a second subsequent offense within 10 years is a felon. In short the district attorney's office wants to keep the DUI charge in case a defendant gets another DUI conviction within a ten year period it can be charged as a felony offense.
Most counties are going to require the DA Supervision for misdemeanors. DA Supervision is kind of like having a probation officer, but not really. The DA's office is not likely to show up at your home or anything like that however, they do want their monthly fee. Basically it is an additional funding source for the DA's office. Most of the local District Attorney's offices did not even have a DA Supervision program until the legislature began cutting their budgets.
Many of the requirements of the standard recommendations are statutorily required. For example a defendant receiving a drug and alcohol assessment and following the recommendations is required by statute. (See Title 47 O.S. § 11-902 (G)) Attending of a Victim Impact Panel is required by statute. (See Title 47 O.S. § 11-902 (H)) A payment to the Victim Compensation Fund is statutorily required. (See Title 21 O.S. § 142.18)
My opinion is that for most people charged with DUI offenses that hiring someone that holds themselves out to be a "DUI Specialist" will only cost a defendant more money to get the same deal. The reason that I hold this opinion is that DUI, DWI and APC charges are so common that most prosecuting agencies have standard recommendations that they extend to most defendants. From time to time a lawyer will be able to negotiate more favorable conditions in a plea agreement or know when to advise a defendant that they may want to consider a "blind plea", but with the majority of alcohol related driving offenses defendants are going to end up with substantially the same deal. In my experience the differences in the plea agreements seen have more to do with the jurisdiction the individual is charged in than with the lawyer who is representing them. To learn more about this issue read The truth About DUIS.
When arrested for DUI, DWI, or APC a defendant's license will be confiscated and that person will typically be given an affidavit that requires a temporary license. What is important to know that if you are arrested for DUI, DWI or APC that the Department of Public Safety will suspend your license for a period of time. However, in most circumstance you can request a modified license. (You can also request a hearing if you would like to challenge the basis of the officer's determination. However, even if you end up winning the DPS hearing if you plead to the DUI, DWI or APC that is also a basis to suspend the License and places you in the same position as if you had the hearing and lost.)
What is important to know is that you must request your hearing or modification within 15 days. The request form is on the DPS website. Click here for a copy of the form. You can either represent yourself with the Department of Public Safety or have a lawyer represent you. If you are requesting a modification it is better that with the modification request form that you fill out the form "Information for a Modified Driver's License" and attach a $175 cashier's check or money order with the form. (This speeds up the process.)
The DPS will send you a letter that will serve as a temporary license. (You must the original letter with the seal for the letter to be considered a valid license.) After receiving the modification request, the "Information for a Modified Driver's License" and the $175 the DPS will send you a letter directing you to have an ignition interlock placed upon your vehicle. (Yes almost everyone is required to have an ignition interlock.) Once the ignition interlock is on your vehicle you will receive a certificate that you must return to the DPS. All of the forms and letters from DPS are pretty self-explanatory. After a six month period your license can be re-instated without the ignition interlock and you can drive again without a interlock device.
You will have to pay to have the ignition interlock placed on the vehicle and a monthly fee while the interlock device is on the vehicle.
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