Driving

Table of Contents
Oklahoma Bar Association, since 1904

Driving

Is driving a right or a privilege?

Driving an automobile in Oklahoma is a privilege.

Are you required to have automobile insurance?

Yes! Everyone who operates a motor vehicle in the state of Oklahoma is required to have current liability insurance. While driving, the operator must carry an insurance form that says the insurance is current. In addition, a vehicle cannot be tagged or registered without proof of insurance. Failure to produce that form, if asked, is punishable by a fine of not more than $250, imprisonment of not more than 30 days, or both. If you go to court within 48 hours and prove you had a current insurance form, the ticket will be dismissed.

What happens if you get a parking or traffic ticket and cannot afford to pay it?

It is important to SHOW UP FOR THE COURT APPEARANCE indicated on the ticket, even if you cannot afford to pay. When you get to court, explain to the judge your financial circumstances and ask for additional time to come up with the money. The court may give you a continuance, which means that you will get another court date and additional time to save some money.

Even if you do not have the money the second time, you must appear and explain your financial circumstances to the judge in order to avoid stiff penalties. If you do not appear at the set court date, the cost of your fine will increase and there may be a warrant issued for your arrest, which will make the penalty even greater.

What happens if you are stopped for driving under the influence (DUI)?

In Oklahoma, if you are driving and are stopped by the police, you are requested to take a breath test to find out how much alcohol is in your system. You do not have a choice between a breath test and a blood test.

Whether you take the breath test or not, your driver license will be suspended or revoked for at least 180 days. Additionally, your refusal to take the breath test may be used against you at your trial.

If you do take the breath test, you have the right to know the results of the test. The results of the test may be used against you in court.

If you are under 21 years of age, it is unlawful for you to drive or operate a motor vehicle with ANY measurable blood alcohol content. If you are over 21 years of age, it is unlawful for you to drive or operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of eight hundredths (.08) or more. Drinking alcohol affects every person differently, but the risk of drinking and driving is a grave one for every driver and his or her passengers. For a first offense, your license may be revoked for at least 180 days. You only have 15 days to notify the Department of Public Safety if you want an administrative hearing to try and have your license reinstated.

What are the penalties for DUI?

Sobriety Test A first DUI is a misdemeanor. The DUI penalties for those 18 to 21 years of age are as follows: a fine not less than $100 or more than $500, plus 20 hours of community service, plus interlock and revocation of your driver license for not less than 180 days. You may also be ordered to undergo drug treatment for substance abuse in addition to the above listed penalties. If you are found guilty of another DUI in Oklahoma within ten (10) years of the first conviction, it is a felony and you may be put in prison for not less than one (1) year and not more than five (5) years, fined not more than $2,500, be required to forfeit your car, be ordered to undergo treatment at your expense and be subject to electronic monitoring. If you are not sent to prison, but get a suspended sentence, you may have to do community service and undergo rehabilitation.

What happens if you are stopped with an open container in your car?

It is illegal to have an open container of beer or alcohol in your car. A container is considered "open" when the original seal or cap has been broken. This applies even if the container is in the back seat and out of your reach. If you have an open container in the car, it must be placed in the trunk or any outside compartment that you cannot get to from inside the vehicle while it is moving. If you are found guilty of having an open container in your car, it is a misdemeanor and you can be fined not more than $50.

A person has a duty to use ordinary care to avoid lending a motor vehicle to another person whom she/he reasonably should know is intoxicated, careless, reckless, or incompetent to drive.