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In 2023, What Happens After a DUI?

Kaylind Landes
8 minute read

Getting arrested for a DUI can be a scary time. You’ll have a lot of questions running through your head: Will I go to jail? Can I prevent others from finding out about my DUI? How bad will it be on my record? And most immediately, what should I do first after being arrested? Here are your answers.

What Happens After a DUI in Oklahoma?

A DUI is a serious charge, and in Oklahoma, you’ll have two separate cases filed against you: a civil case and a criminal case. Depending on how backed up each system is, they can occur at the same or different times.

What Happens in Your Civil Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that driving is a privilege under the law, not a right. That means when you’re arrested for a DUI in Oklahoma, the Service OK (formerly known as DPS) can bring an administrative case to revoke your driving privileges—even if you haven’t been convicted. Here’s what happens after a DUI in your civil case:

  • Service OK will file to automatically suspend your license. You have 30 days before the suspension goes into effect and will be issued a temporary license for this time.
  • The 30-day period gives you an opportunity to either challenge your license suspension or enroll in the Impaired Driver Accountability Program (IDAP).

If you challenge your license suspension, you will:

  • Request an administrative license suspension hearing with Service OK.
  • Attend your hearing to argue against your license suspension—or better yet, have your attorney attend for you.
  • Win your hearing and regain your license and driving privileges.
  • Or, lose your hearing and have your license suspension upheld (and your temporary license expire).
  • If you lose your DPS hearing, you can appeal the ruling to the District Court.

If you choose to take part in IDAP, you will:

  • Apply to enroll in the program.
  • Have an ignition interlock device installed on your car. This is essentially a breathalyzer that confirms you haven’t been drinking before you can start your car.
  • Be able to legally keep driving that vehicle for the course of the program.
  • Have no revocation on your driving record and pay no fees to reinstate it once you’ve successfully completed the program.

You can also choose to do nothing in your civil case, but we don’t recommend this. If you do nothing, your license will be revoked at the end of the 30-day waiting period. If it’s your first DUI offense, your license will be suspended for 6 months, then 1 year for a second offense, and 2 years for a third offense.

What Happens in Your Criminal Case

In addition to the civil case to revoke your license, the State of Oklahoma will also charge you in criminal court. Here’s what happens after a DUI in your criminal case:

  • If the court determines there’s enough evidence to bring a case, you’ll be formally charged, arraigned, and assigned to a court docket.
  • At your arraignment, the court will read the charges against you and you will enter your plea.
  • You can enter a “not guilty” plea and fight the charges against you, or you can enter a “guilty” plea and argue for a deferred sentence or suspended sentence.

What Happens if You’re Convicted

What happens after a DUI conviction, whether you’ve taken a plea deal or been found guilty, depends on the facts of your case.

  • First DUI Conviction: While the law says you can be sentenced to up to one year in jail, having the right representation will likely help you get a deferred sentence, as long as you didn’t injure anyone and you’re not already on probation. You’ll also pay fines up to $1,000, and your license will be suspended for 6 months.
  • Second DUI Conviction: When you’re convicted of multiple DUIs within 10 years, all convictions after the first are felonies. Still, you may be able to get a suspended sentence with the help of a lawyer. You’ll pay fines up to $2,500 and your license will be suspended for 1 year.
  • Third DUI Conviction: Your third DUI conviction can get you up to 10 years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines. You’ll still be eligible for a suspended sentence, but you’ll be less likely to receive one. And, your license will be suspended for 2 years.

You’ll also get in more trouble if you damaged property, had a child in the car, or caused personal injury or death. Damaging property can lead to a separate civil case, a DUI while driving a minor is an automatic felony, and causing injury or death can result in both civil and criminal charges on top of your DUI case.

How Will a DUI Conviction Affect Your Future?

Your civil and criminal cases are one thing. What you really might be wondering is what happens after a DUI in your personal and professional life. Here’s what you might experience if you’re convicted:

  • A DUI stays on your driving record for 10 years. Your car insurance costs will increase or your insurer could drop you altogether.
  • Your DUI could show up on background checks for the rest of your life. Employers may hesitate to hire you, and landlords may hesitate to rent to you.
  • A prior DUI case can affect the way you’re charged with future crimes, and what your plea offers will be.
  • You will probably not get a second deferred sentence if you get in trouble again, regardless of whether it’s a DUI.
  • If you’re charged with multiple DUIs, your license will be suspended for longer and you’ll be required to have a breathalyzer in your car for a longer period of time.

How Can You Help Your DUI Case?

The best way to help your DUI case is to show you understand how serious these charges are, and that you’re taking steps to improve yourself.

Things You Can Do to Help Your Case

  • Make sure Service Oklahoma has your correct information.
  • Enroll in a drug and alcohol assessment.
  • Enroll in a victim impact panel.
  • Complete Alcohol and Drug Substance Abuse Courses.
  • Hire an experienced DUI attorney.

Things Your Attorney Can Do to Help Your Case

  • Review the evidence for any weaknesses in the state’s case.
  • Prepare and file the appropriate paperwork and court motions.
  • Appear at both administrative and criminal hearings on your behalf.
  • Cross-examine the arresting officer and any witnesses.
  • Meet with the prosecutor to negotiate a plea deal.

Expunging a DUI Conviction

After you’ve handled your civil and criminal cases, that still isn’t the end of your DUI journey. Even if you got a deferred sentence and your case was dismissed, landlords, employers, and law enforcement can still find your arrest record during a background search. You can expunge it, but you need to wait a certain amount of time.

  • Misdemeanor with a deferred sentence: 1 year after probation ends
  • Misdemeanor with a suspended sentence or jail time: 5 years after probation ends
  • Felony DUI with no other felony convictions: 5 years after probation ends, or 7 years since your last misdemeanor
  • Felony DUI with another felony conviction: 10 years

Once this length of time has passed and you’ve met any other requirements, you can expunge your record fully.

The Bottom Line

What happens after a DUI depends on the facts of your case and the route you choose to take in your civil and criminal cases. An experienced lawyer like Tulsa DUI Guy can help you make sense of it all and feel more relaxed throughout the process. Contact us today for a free case evaluation to get started right away.