|> Aggravated DUI|
In it’s infinite wisdom about 3 years ago, the Legislature of the State of Oklahoma created a NEW crime called "Aggravated DUI". An aggravated DUI is a DUI case where the person arrested had a chemical test result of .15% or greater on either a breath or blood test. The statutory authority for this is found in 47 O.S. §11-902(D). As such, it can ONLY be filed as a State-level charge in a District Court. It is not a municipal court charge, UNLESS the specific Municipality has added it to their ordinances. HOWEVER, most have not.
It is actually not a new crime at all, but another layer of punishment that is laid on top of that which the statute would otherwise provide. For instance, if the case in question is a misdemeanor DUI, the punishment is a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of one(1) year in the county jail, and/or a fine up to $1,000. If the charge is filed as an aggravated DUI, the potential punishment is the same, PLUS those additional punishments that this sub-section of the statute provides. Those extra punishments are:
1. A minimum stay in an alcohol in-patient treatment facility of 28 days;
2. A One (1) year aftercare probation period (or meetings) upon release from inpatient;
3. Periodic testing during this probationary period;
4. The completion of 480 hours of community service; and,
5. The installation of an ignition interlock on the person’s car for no less than 30 days. Remember: these punishments are in ADDITION to the jail and fines that the regular charge carries!
A clear and simple reading of the statute shows that these extra punishments are MANDATORY, but ONLY if the person is CONVICTED of the charge. If a person receives a deferred sentence, these additional items are NOT required, and most judges will not impose them on the person. However, some judges have mis-read this statute and think that they MUST impose these extra things on a person charged with aggravated DUI even if the agreement is for a deferred sentence.
Almost every district attorney’s office in Oklahoma is filing these charges in cases with a test of .15% or higher. In those district courts where they are being filed, the normal practice is to amend the charge BACK DOWN to a regular DUI, IF the person has had an alcohol assessment which does not reflect the NEED for the person to complete an in-patient program.
Most of the municipal police departments in Oklahoma County (Oklahoma City, Edmond, etc) will file their DUI arrests with tests of .15% and higher in that district court. However, although Oklahoma’s LARGEST district court is Oklahoma County, it has not had a single aggravated DUI filed by that DA’s Office from the passage of this law in 2001 to the present (August, 2006). It is believed that the reason for this is because a Judge in Pottowatomie County District Court ruled the statute as unconstitutional at the end of 2001 and the Oklahoma County D.A’s office does not want to engage in an appeal on that issue.