Holiday Season Brings Increase in DUI Cases

For many Americans, Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season, a time full of festivities, parties, and celebrations that carries through to the New Year. However, those in law enforcement often refer to this time of year as DUI season. Beginning the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and ending New Year's Day, the holiday season is rifted with revelers who may choose to drive after drinking. In fact, the eve of Thanksgiving is considered the "biggest bar night of the year," and it begins the deadliest weekend on American roadways. The best way to protect yourself from a DUI arrest--and a potentially catastrophic or fatal accident--is to refrain from driving after drinking. If you know you will be drinking at a family gathering, holiday party, or evening out with friends, make sure you have a designated sober driver, call a cab, or take advantage of one of the area's safe ride offerings. Under Oklahoma law, there are three alcohol-related driving offenses with which a person may be charged:

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI) - driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or greater; for commercial drivers, the legal limit for intoxication is lowered to 0.04; for drivers under the age of 21, the state of Oklahoma holds no tolerance for drinking and driving, and these young drivers can be charged with DUI with a BAC as low as 0.02
  • Driving While Impaired (DWI) - demonstrating signs of impairment while driving with a BAC as low as 0.06
  • Actual Physical Control (APC) - having control of a vehicle (for example, sitting in the driver's seat of a parked car with access to the keys) while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Associated charges may include child endangerment if a child is in the vehicle or DUI manslaughter if a fatal accident occurs. Possible penalties for a first offense of DUI in Oklahoma include jail time of up to one year, a fine of up to $1000, and driver's license suspension of 180 days.  Subsequent offenses are charged as felonies and have more stringent penalties. Though the dangers of drinking and driving are well known, many people do not fully understand the limit at which their driving becomes impaired. Some people think they are "okay to drive" after only a couple of drinks, but a traffic stop could reveal that, in fact, their blood alcohol concentration puts them above the legal limit. If you are arrested for DUI, APC, or other alcohol-related driving offense this holiday season, contact a DUI defense attorney who can successfully handle your case. To find out more about DUI defense in Oklahoma, visit our firm's website at http://www.oklahoma-criminal-defense.com. Do not drink and drive. We encourage you to celebrate safely, and we wish you a happy Thanksgiving.

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