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Attorneys Stephen G. Fabian Jr. and Brian P. Young

Oklahoma law allows for driver’s license seizures after DUI stops

On Behalf of | Sep 18, 2020 | DUI - Drunk Driving |

DUI convictions may create longstanding problems for Oklahoma drivers. Dealing with a driver’s license suspension could lead to problems maintaining a job or even purchasing groceries. Oklahoma law also mandates that any person over 21 with a 0.08 BAC or under 21 with any BAC level must surrender his or her driver’s license. Refusing to undergo a breath or blood test also leads to the immediate seizure of a license or permit.

Interestingly, in Oklahoma, the driver would receive a dated receipt that serves as a driver’s license for 30 days. The individual will not find him or herself completely unable to legally drive even after failing or refusing the sobriety test.

The statute does point out that there is a requirement for the police officer to present a sworn statement that the accused driver was “operating or was in actual physical control” of the vehicle. If the officer’s assessment proved to be incorrect, then a defense attorney may challenge the arrest’s validity.

Few could argue that someone driving a vehicle was operating it. A person walking to the car with keys in hand appears to possess physical control. However, when the vehicle’s owner sits near the car on a park bench, things may become less clear.

If the person had their keys on them, it might be possible to say they had physical control. When the person doesn’t have the keys, it would be difficult to make such an argument. Proof that a ride-hailing service is on the way to take the person home may create doubts, even when they have keys on their person.

An appeal hearing provides an opportunity to determine if the officer had “reasonable grounds” to charge a person with DUI. During this district court hearing, a DUI attorney may be able to present arguments that reasonable grounds did not exist.