For college students, getting a DUI can mean much more than time in jail and hefty fines. University students can lose their scholarships, face academic sanctions or even get kicked out of school.
Many universities enforce codes of student conduct and policies that outline strict rules about alcohol use on campus, including underage drinking. Some schools have a dry campus, which means they ban alcohol completely. Students are normally required to agree to these terms upon enrollment.
In many of these student policies, DUIs are specifically listed as a violation of student codes of conduct. When not specifically listed, they can fall under a violation of federal, state, or municipal law. The breaking of such laws is considered a breach of many universities’ codes of conduct.
These regulations are designed to dissuade students from making potentially life-threatening decisions and to avoid the severe legal complications of getting a DUI or other alcohol-related charges. Also, most schools offer alcohol education courses, substance abuse counseling, and safe ride services as preventative measures.
Many of Oklahoma’s universities, both state and private, have student codes and alcohol policies in place on their campuses.
University of Oklahoma alcohol policy
The University of Oklahoma takes a staunch stance on alcohol use and incidents on and off the Norman campus. The dry campus requires all enrolled students to follow federal, state and local laws. Students must also respect the guidelines set forth in the OU Student Code of Conduct and Student Alcohol Policy.
OU’s alcohol policy includes a “three strike” program that outlines the course taken by the university when dealing alcohol-related incidents. DUIs are considered a violation of this policy.
If the university is made aware of any alcohol policy infraction made by a student or campus organization, the Office of Student Conduct investigates the event. If the allegation is true, the student receives a “strike” and may face fees, parental notification if the student is under the age of 21, and mandatory alcohol education training, among other stipulations. Repeat strikes may earn more severe penalties, including suspension. Notably, students who have received a complete sanction against the conduct code are prohibited from participating in OU’s study abroad programs.
Typically, when a student receives a DUI charge, the student conduct procedures are put on hold until the student has gone through the legal system off campus.
While the code has strict guidelines, the Student Conduct Office hopes to lead students to make choices that avoid violating student codes.
“The philosophy of everyone in this office is to help students make better decisions in order to graduate successfully,” Director of Student Conduct Steven Ashmore says. “We focus on the students and do what we can to help them be successful.”
OU offers a wide range of alcohol abuse and DUI preventative services, including the Safe Ride program, alcohol education for incoming freshmen and transfer students, and counseling services.
For more information about OU student codes and the alcohol policies, reference the OU Office of Student Conduct policy page.
Oklahoma State University alcohol policy
Oklahoma State University’s student codes and policies require students to follow federal, state, and local laws concerning alcohol use. Possession and use of alcohol on university grounds is prohibited unless otherwise specified.
Driving while under the influence, on or off campus, is considered a code violation, according to the OSU Student Code of Conduct. If the university is made aware of a violation, officials will investigate and possibly conduct a hearing. In severe cases of student code violations, the student may be suspended and parents are notified, among other penalties.
Like OU, OSU offers education and counseling services to students struggling with alcohol abuse. OSU University Counseling Services offers alcohol and substance abuse counseling to students who need help.
For a full review the OSU codes of student conduct and questions about alcohol use policies, contact the office of OSU Student Conduct Education and Administration.
University of Central Oklahoma alcohol policy
The University of Central Oklahoma requires students to follow federal, state, and local law. The UCO Code of Student Conduct specifically lists driving a vehicle while under the influence as a code violation.
If a claim is made about student code violation, the Student Conduct Office will investigate the event. If the claim is accurate, the student found in violation may face differed suspension, fines, and parental notification.
The UCO’s Division of Student Affairs offers resources for students concerned about their alcohol use. These services include referrals for alcohol use assessments, counseling, and other help.
For questions about how DUI charge can violate student codes of conduct at UCO, contact the Student Conduct Office.
Oklahoma City University alcohol policy
Oklahoma City University prohibits all alcohol use on its campus. As outlined in the OCU Student Code of Conduct, students charged with violating a federal or state law on or off campus may face penalties through the university’s disciplinary offices.
Offending students will have to pay fines and may be offered assistance from the University Counseling Center. Parental notification may also be given for students who are younger than 21.
Like many other schools in the state, prevention is a major theme on campus. OCU offers several forms of alcohol education each semester to students and provides counseling to those who might be struggling with alcohol abuse.
For more information, refer to the OCU Student Handbook or the Dean of Students Office.
Tulsa Community College alcohol policy
Tulsa Community College’s Student Code of Conduct sets a basic standard of conduct that bans students from violating federal, state, or municipal laws. An infraction of the law made known to the university is considered a violation of the code of conduct.
A student in violation may be reported to the Dean of Student Affairs office, which may result in interim suspension, an investigation and/or a hearing in front of the Student Conduct Hearing Committee.
Like other universities, TCC offers several alcohol abuse prevention services to its students and faculty, including referrals to counseling.
For more information, refer to the TCC Student Policies and Resources Handbook or contact the Office of Student Affairs.
The consequences of DUI can quickly add up. If you find yourself dealing with the implications of a DUI charge, don’t handle your legal matters without an attorney. Get the defense you need. Contact us now for a free DUI defense consultation.
When you’re stopped on suspicion of DUI, your first instinct — and wisely so — might be to ask for a lawyer. Unfortunately, Oklahoma courts have ruled that you can only ask for an attorney after you’re arrested and in custody.
The First Day: The traffic stop, arrest and booking
At the roadside, you’re on your own, so it’s crucial that you know the rules. You should speak as little as possible. As a practical matter, most of the important questions you’ll be asked can be answered with a simple yes or no. Others you don’t have to answer at all, such as “How much have you had to drink?” It’s best that you politely decline to respond to such questions because whatever you say will later be repeated in court.
About Those Tests
One of the first decisions you’re going to have to make on your own is whether to take a field sobriety test. You’re not legally required to do this in Oklahoma, so unless you’re sure you can ace it, you might want to calmly decline. There will be payback, of course. You’ll almost certainly be arrested, but if you’ve been drinking and the officer can smell alcohol on you, you’ll most likely be arrested anyway. By declining, you give the state less evidence to use against you later. Roadside sobriety tests are not clinical. They’re not exact. They’re subjective, dependent on the police officer’s perspective. You could walk a perfectly straight line, but if the arresting officer believes you’ve been drinking, he’s going to see you wobble.
Use time wisely
The next issue is whether or not you’re going to take a blood-alcohol test. If you do not take it, your right to drive in the coming months or years will be impacted, so you want to submit to the test. But do so wisely.
Under Oklahoma law, the police have two hours after arresting you — not just pulling you over — to administer this test. The closer you get to this two-hour limit, the better off you’ll be because the alcohol in your blood is going to be metabolizing all this time. If the officers want to administer a blood-alcohol test on the roadside, request that it take place at the station. After you take it, you have the right under Oklahoma law to request another of your own — not given by law enforcement, but by an independent medical professional at a local hospital. This can provide useful evidence for your attorney.
The Next Day: Picking up the pieces
How Are You Going to Get to Work?
If you want to keep driving, you have a few more steps to take after your arrest. The police will take your driver’s license while you’re in custody, but they’ll give you an affidavit in its place. The affidavit acts as a temporary license so you can get to work the next day, assuming your car hasn’t been impounded. If it has, you’ll have to visit police headquarters to get it back. You’ll need your title, registration, the affidavit, and the case number of the police report. The affidavit lets you drive until you attend a hearing with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety to ask for a modified license. You have 15 days to request the hearing. If you don’t, your driving privileges will be suspended on the 16th day. Installing an ignition interlock device is a condition of an Oklahoma modified license. As long as you haven’t been drinking, you can blow into the device, start your car and drive anywhere.
Will You Still Have a Job To Go To?
Most of the time, what happens on your own time is your own business. This includes arrests.
However, depending on the circumstances of your job, such as if you are regularly required to operate a vehicle during the course of your workday, you might be compelled to divulge your arrest and depending on your company’s policy, this could lead to your termination. Also, in Oklahoma even you don’t regularly operate a vehicle in the course of your work, your company may have a (perfectly legal) policy in place that compels you to inform your employer if you are arrested for certain crimes. Even then, lying to your employer is never a good idea. If your employer asks pointblank about your DUI, be honest.
Negotiating the steps you need to take following a DUI arrest can be tricky, but you can avoid taking missteps by enlisting the help of a lawyer who knows the ropes.
Call Laird Hammons Laird at (405) 703-4567 for a consultation so we can help guide you and prevent an unfortunate situation from turning into a nightmare.
The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department was busy cracking down on citizens driving under the influence in the lead-up to the July 4th holiday.
The weekend of June 29, the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s office conducted a DUI checkpoint on North Macarthur Boulevard in Oklahoma City that led to 24 arrests, 19 of which were for driving under the influence. The OCS added an extra feature to their stop, live tweeting commentary and photos of those arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence.
They started the evening showing their preparations:
A quick briefing, the equipment is warming up, #OkDUICheckpoint almost ready to go. pic.twitter.com/jQgkdPMUIG
— Oklahoma Co. Sheriff (@OkCountySheriff) June 29, 2014
And continued advertising their new jewelry for those that have had too many and decided to drive:
Free accessories to drunk drivers tonight at #OkDUICheckpoint. It’s a fashion statement you won’t want to make. pic.twitter.com/XBAM21VroQ
— Oklahoma Co. Sheriff (@OkCountySheriff) June 28, 2014
The OCS made sure no faces of those arrested were included in their tweets though:
This guy almost hit a deputy doesn’t have any ID has admitted to drinking alcohol and smoking weed. #OkDUICheckpoint pic.twitter.com/tvGaNf6Zgo
— Oklahoma Co. Sheriff (@OkCountySheriff) June 29, 2014
Some of those arrested didn’t seem realize the gravity of Oklahoma’s DUI Laws:
Guy just cussed at a deputy because his DUI arrest is going to make him late or miss church. #OkDUICheckpoint
— Oklahoma Co. Sheriff (@OkCountySheriff) June 29, 2014
You can see KOCO news’ story about local law enforcement’s innovative use of twitter here.
Whether you agree with the practice of live-tweeting what is surely an incredibly low moment in these people’s lives or not, getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking more than the legal limit is not only a serious crime, but a huge hazard to you and everyone else on the road. If you’ve been drinking, take a cab or one of the many ride share services in town and don’t end up like those listed above.
If you find yourself in a DUI checkpoint, whether drinking or not, know your rights and know the proper protocols.
Read our full rundown of what you should do when you find yourself in a DUI Checkpoint here.
If you find yourself on the OCS twitter feed in the future, don’t try to handle it on your own. Call us today at (405) 703-4567, and our group of experienced attorneys that will stand up for your rights.
We’ve all been there on occasion – it’s late, one drink has stretched into three or maybe more, and you just want to get home without fuss. If you have to work in the morning, the idea of leaving your car behind is fraught with its own problems. How are you going to get the vehicle back in the morning and still get to your job on time? Even if it’s the wee hours of Sunday morning and you have nothing pressing to do the next day, you might figure that you live only half a mile away so driving is a minimal risk, right?
Depending on a lot of factors – your gender, your weight, your metabolism and how much you’ve had to eat, to name a few – it can be surprisingly easy to get to that magic number: a .08 blood alcohol concentration. That’s the point where Oklahoma DUI Laws say you’re intoxicated. You shouldn’t be operating a vehicle. Whether you live 10 miles away or you’re half a mile from your driveway, this doesn’t affect your driving skills. It only means that you may have less opportunity to cross paths with law enforcement. Or worse.
The Moment of Truth
If you cross paths with law enforcement, you have at least one important decision to make. The officer may ask you to take a sobriety test and do some intricate footwork on the side of the road to prove you’re in full control of all your motor skills. If you fail or if he proceeds directly to asking you to take a breath test, here’s where things can get tricky. Under Oklahoma law, you can’t decline to take the test, at least not without losing your driver’s license. You already gave your implied consent to taking a breath test when you got behind the wheel. If you retract it by saying no at the scene, you’ll be taking a cab or bumming rides for at least six months – and this is if you haven’t found yourself in such a predicament before. If this is your second or third offense, you’re looking at a year of getting by without your driver’s license.
What to do?
Call a lawyer. Technically, the police must measure your BAC within two hours of stopping you. This gives you a window of time in which to reach out for help or advice, particularly in this day and age of cellphones. Use the time you have to your best advantage. As an aside, it probably won’t do you much good to try to stall past the two-hour limit. Oklahoma prosecutors can and have managed to get convictions based on BAC measurements taken after this time.
This Is Going to Hurt
If you’re convicted of driving under the influence, there’s no pretty way around it – the ordeal isn’t going to be painless. The best case scenario is that you’re charged in municipal court because this is a misdemeanor. But the police will file the charge in district court if it isn’t your first DUI or if you’re involved in an accident, and this transforms the charge to a felony. At the misdemeanor level, you’re looking at 10 days to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. This jumps to one to 10 years in jail for a third offense felony conviction, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Your first DUI conviction counts against you for ten years, but if this is your third DUI, the look-back period is limitless – it doesn’t matter when the first offense occurred. Oklahoma suspends your license for six months for a misdemeanor DUI or a second-offense felony DUI, and a year for a third offense.
Some Rules Have Changed
Oklahoma lawmakers have rolled up their shirtsleeves to get tougher on DUI offenders. In 2010, the Aaron Gillming Act was signed into law, requiring that you participate in a drug and alcohol evaluation and assessment program prior to sentencing. The judge wants to know if you have a significant dependency problem and, if so, how receptive you’ll be to treatment. A treatment program can be a condition of your sentence.
A year later, in 2011, the Erin Elizabeth Swezey Act passed, mandating interlocking ignition devices on all vehicles owned and operated by DUI offenders – even first-time offenders if they have a BAC of .15 or higher. The state will stamp the words “Interlock Required” on your driver’s license to alert law enforcement if you attempt to drive a car other than your own. This state of affairs will last for 18 months. Second- and third-time offenders are subject to the .08 BAC level and the device is required for four years. Your car won’t start unless you blow into the device to prove that you haven’t had anything to drink.
Don’t Go Down Without a Fight
By now, you’re probably holding your head in your hands and swearing off alcohol for the rest of your life, or at the very least vowing never to drink and get behind the wheel of a car. The latter is a good thing – it’s always better to be safe than sorry. But to err is human and if you err, you need the help of an attorney who’s experienced with the ins and outs of all these laws. Once upon a time, it was possible to plea bargain a DUI offense down to a lesser charge in Oklahoma, but the Erin Elizabeth Swezey Act changed that, too. Now your only chance is to disprove the case the state thinks it has against you.
You need an expert attorney by your side who knows the best way to do that. If you find yourself in this situation, call us today at (405) 703-4567.
Most people love a good party and some holidays seem tailor-made for one – especially those in the summer. Sun and liquor can go hand-in-hand and law enforcement knows it. Although DUI and sobriety checkpoints pop up all year long in Oklahoma, police are particularly vigilant at times and in those places that are most likely to yield results and take impaired drivers off the roads. Think bar and club districts in the wee hours of the morning – and summer days when most people are off work and can dedicate themselves to a good time.
If you do find yourself charged with an Oklahoma DUI crime, contact our team of attorneys for help today.
The Officers Don’t Want to Just Say Hi
The police haven’t taken up position at a DUI checkpoint because they want to wish you a happy Memorial Day or Fourth of July. The idea behind checkpoints is that if you know they’re there, you won’t risk drinking and driving – you’ll find another way home. They’re a deterrent. But if you drink anyway, they’re designed to apprehend you and put you in jail.
Under both Oklahoma and federal law, this arrangement is perfectly legal. It doesn’t violate your Fourth Amendment rights – that’s the amendment that prohibits illegal search and seizure. In 1990, the United States Supreme Court decided that collecting intoxicated drivers off the streets is of paramount importance and the effort justifies checkpoints. Oklahoma agreed with this interpretation in a landmark decision in 1994. Suffice it to say, DUI checkpoints are here to stay.
Be On Your Best Behavior
Unless you have nerves of steel, the checkpoint encounter is probably not going to be your finest hour. This holds true whether you’ve had one drink, a few, or no alcoholic beverages at all. It’s human nature to get rattled when a police officer is standing at your driver’s side window, asking you questions and maybe even shining a flashlight in your face. It’s OK and perfectly understandable if you’re rattled. It’s not OK to let it show. Even if you have no reason whatsoever to appear guilty, nervous speech, darting eyes and wringing hands will imply that you do. So take a deep breath as the officer approaches your vehicle, then do all you can to appear calm.
You don’t have to answer every question posed to you. In fact, the more questions you do answer, the more minefields you create for yourself, potential holes in the ground that you might fall through. This is true even if you swore off alcohol six years ago and the only thing in your system is your grandmother’s lemonade. You don’t have to be intoxicated to convince law enforcement that you are and to take things one step further. If you have had something to drink, you might think you’re enunciating perfectly, but the more you speak, the more opportunity you give your tongue to trip up. And that old line you’ve heard in movies a thousand times is true – anything you say can be held against you in a court of law.
So don’t say it. You’re within your rights to decline to answer certain questions – such as where you’ve spent the last several hours – but do so calmly and politely.
The Field Sobriety Test
Let’s assume for the moment that you’ve gotten rattled, you’ve taken a misstep, and the police officer hasn’t waived you on through the checkpoint. What’s next?
He’ll ask you to pull your car over to the side of the road. You’ll probably be asked to take a field sobriety test. You’ve seen this on TV or maybe you’ve glimpsed some unfortunate soul trying to master it on the side of the road. Put one foot in front of the other, heel to toe. Stand balanced on one foot with the other held off the ground. It may sound easy enough, but these tests are designed for failure. They appear simple on the surface, but they’re hard. The more you think about what you’re doing and the more rattled you are, the worse you’ll probably do. Physical impairments can get in the way, too, and the police may not ask you ahead of time if you suffer from any. I know of one poor woman who had just come off full hip replacement surgery a few weeks before. She had no alcohol in her system but she couldn’t put one foot in front of the other, heel to toe.
You can decline to take a field sobriety test – this is perfectly legal. But if you do, it’s a safe guess that the officer will next ask you to take a breath test. And you can’t decline this in Oklahoma – at least not without some significant ramifications. Refusal means automatic suspension of your driver’s license, and your refusal can later be used against you in court.
You’re Not a Sitting Duck
Knowing you’re facing all this as you approach an Oklahoma DUI checkpoint, you might be tempted to turn around and go the other way whether you’ve had anything to drink or not. The fact is, you’re perfectly within your rights to do this. Courts have ruled that turning around and taking an alternate route home does not give officers probable cause to stop you for DUI.
About That Taillight…If you can’t turn around or down a side street, there’s something else you should keep in mind. DUI checkpoints are not just about intoxicated drivers – the police aren’t limited to citing you for driving under the influence. If your registration is a tad out of date, you can be ticketed. If your taillight is out, ditto. You can be cited for unrelated violations after you’re stopped.
Ideally, you won’t come across an Oklahoma DUI checkpoint on your way home from a holiday party. But if you do and if things go wrong, don’t try to handle the situation on your own. An attorney experienced in this area of the law can make all the difference between a DUI on your record, sky-high insurance rates, and other assorted nightmares. Law enforcement is subject to checkpoint guidelines, and an experienced attorney can determine whether any of these were violated. Falsely positive breath tests are not unheard of.
If you need help defending yourself against Oklahoma DUI charges, call us today at (405) 703-4567.