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The Oklahoma Legal Group Blog

Luck of the Irish Doesn’t Apply for DUIs

Adam Banner - Thursday, March 07, 2013

With St. Patrick' s day coming up shortly, Oklahoma will likely see an influx of alcohol related crime. Here's what  David Haenel, Esq., a Florida DUI attorney, had to say about his view on Oklahoma DUI laws:

"Saint Patrick's Day celebrations in the US have a long history that stretches back to a time before the American Revolution. Centered on Irish heritage, it has become a celebration in which large numbers of Americans take part. Festivities include parades, block parties, and much merriment at bars and restaurants as well as music, folk-dancing, and other public and cultural events. Whatever their heritage, few can resist being Irish for a day. But, like many other holidays, the celebrations often include alcohol, from green beer to much more potent spirits. As we know, where there is alcohol and public celebration, there are often many people traveling by automobile, and thus also the risk, for those who are careless, of DUI.

Oklahoma is quite strict about driving under the influence of alcohol, defined as a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08% or more for non-commercial drivers. Even first offenses carry jail time and heavy fines. Other factors, such as child passengers, can result in even harsher penalties. As with any celebration involving alcohol, the best plan is to make sure that the day's merriment does not include driving under the influence.

 Oklahoma is an implied consent state, which means that when you obtain a state license, you are giving consent to be subjected to various blood alcohol tests if you are suspected of operating a vehicle under the influence. More importantly, blood alcohol levels are tricky to calculate from person to person, and will even change as an individual’s circumstances change. Drinking without eating, for example, leads to the absorption of more alcohol faster. The best option is not to drink and drive, or not to drive until there is no longer any appreciably significant alcohol in your system.

The fact that Saint Patrick's Day is such a social holiday actually makes things easier with a bit of foresight. If you are going to and from events in a group, make sure to choose a designated driver, or a series of designated drivers, who plan to be alcohol-free during the festivities. However, as the old saying goes, even the best laid plans may go awry, and in that case the most sensible solution is simply to leave the automobile where it is, take a taxi or public transportation, or even call someone to pick you up. This may be more costly or inconvenient, but compared to the cost of a DUI conviction, it’s well worth the price. When driving while intoxicated, you risk your license and freedom, as well as your finances. More importantly, you risk serious injury or worse for yourself and those around you.

Always keep in mind that wise decisions can be difficult to make by even the mildly tipsy, so arrange to have a designated decision-maker as well. Many bars and restaurants are glad to help. Just ask.

Most importantly, know yourself, and do not overestimate your capacity or that of other people to make sound decisions or to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence. Prudence and advance planning will assure that you and yours have a roaring good time and avoiding a tragedy that could haunt you for the rest of your life."

Criminal defense attorney David Haenel, Esq. of Finebloom & Haenel has extensive experience litigating DUI, criminal and traffic-related cases in Florida courts. Formerly with the State Attorney’s office, where he was named 2004 State of Florida DUI Prosecutor of the Year, David spent years training prosecutors and law enforcement to deal with all aspects of traffic-related crime and he gives frequent lectures on issues involving DUI and evidentiary breath testing. 






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