High Profile Oklahoma DUI Arrests Show No Immunity

Oklahoma DUI lawyers represent individuals who have been charged with Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs.  While some people may carry a stereotypical view of an intoxicated driver, the truth is that anyone who drinks and takes the wheel may be charged with DUI or other alcohol related traffic offense.  

From the college student  partying with friends, to the shift worker hitting happy hour for a few beers, to an urban professional having cocktails during a business lunch, anyone who drinks and drives may find himself or herself charged with a criminal offense. 

DUI is not a crime that is only committed by alcoholics.  It may be committed by any person who drives after drinking--frequently, a person who does not realize how few drinks it can take to put one's blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit.  In fact, underage drivers can be charged with DUI under 21 with a BAC as low as o.02.

Three Oklahoma DUI arrests in the past week show that DUI is a crime that can affect anyone, including an Oklahoma City councilman, a former assistant police chief, and the former president of a Christian university. Last Friday, councilman Skip Kelly was arrested for DUI in Oklahoma City when police officers discovered him sitting in his damaged car.  

Allegedly, Kelly was intoxicated when his vehicle jumped a curb and hit a fire hydrant.  Kelly, himself an attorney, told police that he was not drunk and that he had consumed only a glass of wine before driving.  He claims his accident was caused when he took evasive action to avoid a vehicle that almost collided with him.  He refused to submit to a breathalyzer test.  

If Kelly is convicted of DUI, it will be his second Oklahoma DUI conviction within three years.  As a second DUI offense, the crime will be charged as a felony, with Kelly facing a fine of up to $2,500 and a maximum of five years in jail.  If he is convicted of a felony, he will also be required to forfeit his position as a member of the Oklahoma City Council. In a separate DUI case, a former assistant police chief with the Moore Police Department was arrested on an Oklahoma County DUI complaint on Saturday afternoon.  

According to the arresting officer, Gary Wayne Tipps, 55, exhibited slurred speech and poor balance when he was pulled over.  Inside the vehicle were a loaded handgun and a cup containing a substance that "smelled like whiskey."  Tipps was reported to be belligerent when arrested, kicking out a window of the police car and spitting on a jailer.  

In addition to DUI, Tipps has been charged with destruction of property, possessing a firearm while under the influence, and throwing bodily fluids on a government employee.

On Tuesday, former Oral Roberts University president Richard Roberts was arrested for speeding and DUI near Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He was allegedly clocked travelling at 93 mph in a 65 mph zone.  When Roberts was pulled over, the arresting officer claimed to smell alcohol and said that Roberts was unable to perform two field sobriety tests to check coordination.  

A blood alcohol analysis revealed his BAC to be 0.11. Anyone who consumes alcohol prior to driving may find himself or herself charged with DUI.  Not every DUI arrest comes from erratic driving or from a motor vehicle accident.  More commonly, a person may be pulled over for a minor infraction, such as a rolling stop, turning into the far lane, or a burned-out headlight.  If, during the traffic stop, an officer suspects the driver may be intoxicated, a DUI arrest may occur.  

Those arrested for DUI should immediately seek counsel from an experienced Oklahoma DUI lawyer.