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Why is driving under the influence a criminal offense?

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2023 | DUI Charges |

Driving under the influence (DUI) is considered a serious offense with severe legal consequences. It is important to understand the reasons behind the strict regulations and penalties associated with DUI. 

Keep reading for an overview of why driving under the influence is a criminal offense, what penalties are associated with impaired driving and why the state deems them necessary.

What is drunk driving?

DUI, or driving under the influence, refers to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Oklahoma, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher for individuals aged 21 and older. For drivers under 21 years, a BAC of 0.02% or higher is considered illegal.

Driving under the influence is an offense because it poses significant risks to the impaired driver and others on the road. Alcohol and drugs can impair judgment, coordination, reaction time and overall cognitive abilities, making it dangerous to operate a vehicle. Essentially, impaired drivers are more prone to accidents, which can result in injuries, fatalities and property damage.

Public safety is one of the primary reasons why DUI is strictly enforced. 

What are the penalties for drunk driving in Oklahoma?

By penalizing DUI offenses, the state aims to reduce the number of alcohol-related accidents. The severity of the penalties depends on factors such as:

  • Prior convictions 
  • BAC level 
  • The presence of aggravating circumstances.

Depending on the offense, individuals convicted of DUI can face substantial fines ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Additionally, DUI convictions often lead to driver’s license suspensions. In some instances, the court may require the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in the offender’s vehicle. This device measures the driver’s BAC and helps prevents the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected.

Offenders may also be placed on probation, requiring them to comply with specific conditions, such as attending alcohol education programs, submitting to regular drug tests and avoiding further legal infractions. Moreover, repeat DUI offenders or those involved in accidents causing injuries or fatalities may face imprisonment. 

Drunk driving is inherently dangerous, but anybody can make a mistake. If you’re facing charges, it’s wisest to explore all your defense options