Lawmakers Wanted Incentives for On-Board Breathalizers
Changes in the way Oklahoma handles driver’s license suspensions for drivers charged with DUI in Oklahoma went in to effect on November 1st, 2018. A new procedure allows drivers an option for the way they request continued driving privileges with an ignition interlock device installed after a DUI arrest.
Separate from the criminal DUI charge charge and regardless of whether they are ultimately prosecuted or convicted, Oklahoma drivers arrested for DUI after breath or blood tests show results of more than .08 percent blood alcohol, or who refuse a breath test, automatically face a six-month suspension of their driver’s licenses for a first offense. The new law changed the way drivers can appeal that automatic suspension.
Drivers who don’t opt in to the newly created program can now appeal mandatory driving restrictions to a district court, rather than to a Department of Public Safety administrative court.
With the new law in effect, drivers facing suspension may apply to participate in the Impaired Driver Accountability Program (IDAP). Consequences of a failed test under the IDAP program are somewhat different. Under IDAP program, the duration of mandatory ignition interlock usage for a first-offense driver who blows alcohol into the interlock device is extended by 60 days. First offense drivers not participating in the program must otherwise show 180 days since a failed test before they can have their drivers license reinstated.
License reinstatement fees are waved for drivers who participate in the IDAP program.
2019 Law Was Legislature’s 3rd Try in 3 Years
The Oklahoma legislature has sought for years to incentivize installation of ignition interlock devices that operate like a breathalyzer to confirm the driver is not under the influence of alcohol. A 2017 law intended to incentivize use of ignition interlock devices was struck down in 2018 by the Oklahoma Supreme Court for failing to meet constitutional due process requirements.
The new law, passed as Senate Bill 712, sought to meet some of the previous bill’s objective while resolving the issues that caused the prior law to be ruled unconstitutional. The legislature tried and failed to adopt a similar law in 2018. Bills passed by large majorities on both sides of the legislature died in a conference committee where differences between House and Senate bills would be resolved.
After a first DUI arrest, participants in IDAP are required to use the device a minimum of 180 days, and may graduate only after 60 days without any violations of the program rules . The period extends to one year for a second DUI arrest and three years for a third DUI arrest. Consequences for violations are similarly increased for second and third offenses. The program requires 120 violation-free days before completing the program on a second offense, and a full year of violation free days on third offense. The program fee is $200 in addition to a $50 fee for a restricted driver’s license.
Drivers typically have thirty days from arrest to apply to participate in the IDAP and are granted an additional fifteen days to have the device installed on their vehicle once they are accepted in to the program.
Drivers facing the license suspension previously could seek an administrative hearing, called an Implied Consent Hearing, with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. Under the new law, drivers must appeal the suspension of their license to a county district court within thirty days of their arrest. Driver’s are allowed to both challenge the suspension as well as apply to the IDAP, both of which must be done on the same timeline.
Consult a DUI Attorney in Tulsa Now
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Oklahoma, you have a limited amount of time to protect your driving privileges. You may also face criminal consequences. To protect your rights, contact an Oklahoma DUI attorney as soon as possible. To contact a Tulsa DUI attorney at Wirth Law Office, call (918) 879-1681.