Contact Information

Brian C. Been Attorney at Law

1861 E. 15th St.
Tulsa, OK 74104

Phone: 918-747-4600

DUI / DWI / APC

Choosing a lawyer for your driving offense plays a large role in the outcome of your case. Let Brian C. Been Attorney at Law help you cope with the stress of your DUI/DWI case by minimizing the consequences or getting the charges dismissed.

Being charged with DUI/DWI can lead to the following:

  • Alcohol Assessment and Treatment
  • Driving Disqualification
  • Hefty Fines
  • Increased Insurance Costs

auto collision lawDrunk Driving Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How drunk or high does someone have to be before they can be convicted of DUI?
A. It's illegal to drive a car while "impaired" meaning under the effects of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs. This means there is enough alcohol or drugs to prevent the driver from thinking clearly or driving safely. Many people reach this level well before they would be considered legally "drunk" or "stoned." In all states, a driver who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08% or above is presumed guilty of a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated). Also in most states, a driver under the age of 21 is considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol if their BAC is at or greater than .01% or .02%, depending on the state.

Q. What methods can be used by the police to find out whether a driver is under the influence?

A. These are the three methods police typically use to determine whether a driver has had too much to be driving:

Observation. A police officer has pulled you over because he observed you were driving erratically -- swerving, speeding, failing to stop, or even driving too slowly. You may have a perfectly good excuse for this, but an officer is unlikely to accept your story if he smells alcohol on your breath, notices slurred words or unsteady movements.

Sobriety tests. If an officer suspects you are under the influence, he will ask you to exit your car and perform a series of tests. These balance and speech tests may consist of standing on one leg, walking a straight line heel-to-toe, or reciting a line of letters or numbers. The officer will look at your eyes looking to see if your pupils are enlarged or constricted, which can be evidence of intoxication. If you fail these tests, the officer will most likely ask you to take a chemical test.

Blood-alcohol level. The amount of alcohol in your body is measured by the amount of alcohol in your blood. This measurement can be taken directly by drawing a sample of your blood, or it can be calculated by applying a mathematical formula to the amount of alcohol in your breath or urine. Some states give you a choice of whether to take a breath, blood or urine test -- others do not. If you test at or above .08 % blood-alcohol concentration, you are presumed to be driving under the influence, unless you can convince a judge or jury your judgment was not impaired and you were not driving dangerously.

Q. Do I get to choose the test?
A. In Oklahoma, the arresting agency gets to choose which test they will administer. You have no choice in the matter and must submit to the chosen. In most cases, that will be a breath test, unless the breath test cannot be administered in compliance with the rules, then a blood test can be administered. After you have agreed to the State's test, you may ask for an additional test, which will be administered at a local hospital at your expense. You will not be taken to the hospital for an additional test, unless and until you have submitted to the State's test.

Q. Do I have to take the field sobriety tests?
A. These balance and speech tests may consist of standing on one leg, walking a straight line heel-to-toe, or reciting a line of letters or numbers. Many of these so called tests are difficult for a sober person to execute without having had a drink. If a person has a problem with balance, coordination, physical infirmity, is overweight, over 65, they will in all probability, not be able to perform satisfactory for the officer. We recommend you politely decline to perform these roadside coordination tests. You are not required by law to take these physical tests, and they do nothing but provide the prosecutor with inaccurate evidence of your condition. These tests are not scientifically reliable and have but one purpose, and that is to give the officer additional information with, which to prove your guilt or take your driver license.

Q. Do I have to take a blood, breath or urine test if asked to do so by the police?
Take the breath test. But it is important to know that in the state of Oklahoma, there is no approved roadside breath analytic machine. If you are asked to take a roadside test, politely decline to take the roadside breath test, and ask the officer for the breath test at the station. It is also beneficial to ask for an additional test in addition to any given by the officer. This is your right, and will be given once you have taken the State's test. You may refuse to take any of these tests but if you do in Oklahoma, there is a law called the "implied consent" law. Under this law, if you refuse these tests, it will result in suspension of your driver license from anywhere between 3 to 12 months, regardless even if you are eventually found not guilty of the charge.

Q. What should I do when stopped by the police?
A. Your duty when stopped by the police is to remain calm and be polite. Cooperate, but don't answer any questions about where you have been or what you have had to drink, or anything about an involvement in an accident.

Q. If I'm stopped for DUI, can a police officer ask me questions without reading me my rights?
A. Your duty when stopped by the police is to remain calm and be polite. Cooperate, but don't answer any questions about where you have been or what you have had to drink, or anything about an involvement in an accident.

Q. What is the punishment for drinking and driving?
The punishment for DUI/DWI can range from a $200 fine up to $2,500, and imprisonment up to 10 years in the penitentiary, depending on the person's prior record. The punishment varies according to the Court in which the defendant is charged, and the offense. In a Municipal Court for all municipalities except for Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Lawton, the maximum fine is $500, and a maximum of 30 days in jail. In a Court of Record, which includes Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Lawton, the maximum fine is currently $1,200 and up to six months in jail. In all District Courts in Oklahoma, the maximum punishment is a $1,000 fine and 10 days to one year in jail for a Misdemeanor DUI, and as much as 10 years in the penitentiary and $2,500 fine for a felony. There are also other crimes, such as Aggravated DUI, which can carry an additional punishment of up to 480 hours of community service, and 30 day inpatient treatment. Aggravated DUI occurs when a person has an alcohol level in their body of .15 or above. There is also a charge of DUI with Great Bodily Injury, which arises when a person has caused an accident where life threatening or disfiguring injury is caused. This would have to happen while the person was under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants.

Q. What is the maximum punishment for a first time offender?
A. The punishment for DUI for the first time offender varies according to the Court in which the defendant in charged. In a Municipal Court for all municipalities except for Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Lawton, the maximum fine is $500, and a maximum of 30 days in jail. In a Court of Record, which includes Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Lawton, the maximum fine is currently $1,200 and up to six months in Jail. In all District Courts in Oklahoma, the maximum punishment is a $1,000 fine and one year in jail. In most cases, the first time offender will not be assessed the maximum fine and in most jurisdictions, no jail time will be given. One can reasonably expect to be offered a plea bargain. Most often, a person is able to get a deferred judgment and sentence which means, the defendant pleads guilty or does not contest to the charge, and the sentencing is put off for a period of time. During this time, the defendant is required to complete certain tasks, such as AA or counseling, community service, and alcohol abuse training. If the defendant successfully completes the requirements, the charge is either dismissed or reduced to some non-alcohol related traffic offense. This acts to keep the DUI charge from appearing on a person’s traffic record.

Q. I was pulled over at a roadblock and asked to wait and answer a police officer's questions. Is this legal?
A. Yes, as long as the police use a neutral policy when stopping cars (such as stopping all cars or stopping every third car) and they minimize any inconvenience to you and the other drivers. The police can't single out your car at a roadblock, unless they have good reason to believe you have broken the law.

Find out more about our flexible and affordable payment options or to receive a free consultation. Please contact us today.

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Brian C. Been Attorney at Law
1861 E. 15th St., Tulsa, OK 74104
918-747-4600

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