While some motorists regard driving as a basic right, the fact is that operating a motor vehicle is a privilege that must be earned and maintained by demonstrating safe and lawful driving. Under certain circumstances, an individual's Oklahoma driver's license may be suspended or revoked for a specific length of time, depending on the person's driving record or history, and the particular violation(s).
REASONS FOR DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS
There are a variety of reasons why your Oklahoma driver's license might be suspended. Some of these are related to specific driving violations, while others may be due to violation of other State laws. Following are some of the most common reasons for an Oklahoma driver's license to be suspended or revoked.
- Driving Under the Influence. Your Oklahoma driver's license will be suspended if you are found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. The length of the suspension varies according to the nature of the offense.
For a blood alcohol content (BAC) between 0.05% and 0.08% your license will be suspended for 30 days for a first offense, six months for a subsequent offense and one year for a third offense. Your will also face a $100 fine or six months in jail.
If your BAC is over 0.08% you are legally classified as intoxicated and the penalties are more severe. For a first offense, the fine is up to $1,000 and the jail time is between ten days and one year. For a second offense the fine increases to $5,000 and the jail term to between one year and seven years. For a third or subsequent offense the fine is $5,000 and the jail term between one and ten years. Once you are convicted of DUI, the Department of Public Safety is notified and they will suspend or revoke your license. For a first offense the suspension period is 180 days. For a second offense, the suspension period is one year if you had only one prior DUI conviction within the past five years. If you have had two or more DUI convictions within that time, your license will be suspended for three years.
- Refusal to take a breath or urine test. For refusing to take a breath or urine test when requested, your license will be immediately suspended for between 180 days and three years - even if you have not been drinking.
- Excessive Moving Violations. Like most other States, Oklahoma operates a point system, in which drivers accumulate points on their license for every moving violation that they commit. If you accumulate ten or more points in a five year period, your license will be suspended.
- Failure to stop after an accident. Your license will be suspended if you fail to stop and give assistance after a traffic accident in which you were involved and in which another person was killed or injured.
- Giving false information. Your license will be suspended if you supply false information in order to obtain a driving license or in any other legal matter relating to owning a vehicle.
- Any drug conviction. Any drug conviction (misdemeanor or felony) - not necessarily involving a motor vehicle - will result in license suspension.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR OKLAHOMA DRIVER'S LICENSE IS SUSPENDED
Having your Oklahoma driver's license suspended is a serious matter, and it is essential to adhere to State law in the event that your license is suspended. If your license is suspended, you may be eligible to apply for a hardship license, which will allow you to drive with limitations, for example, to and from work or church or for the purpose of obtaining alcohol treatment. A hardship license only allows you to drive during daylight hours.
If your license was suspended as a result of a DUI conviction, you will probably be required to fit an ignition interlock system to your vehicle. To find out if you are eligible for a hardship license, or to find out more about the ignition interlock system, you should call (405) 425-2098.
If you believe your license may be suspended due to one of the reasons listed above it is advisable to speak with a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer.
APPEALING A SUSPENSION
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety will send a notice of suspension to your current mail address. If you wish to challenge the suspension, you may request a hearing in court. An administrative law judge will hear your case, and determine whether your driver's license should be suspended or not. In addition, drivers whose license may be suspended due to accumulating excessive points may be eligible to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program. Completing a Driver Improvement Program removes two points from the current driving record, and in some cases can enable an individual to avoid having his license suspended.
It is also a good idea to seek the advice of a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer, based on the reason for the suspension.
RESTORING YOUR LICENSE
The steps you need to follow to reinstate your license following a suspension depend on several factors, including the reasons for suspension and any other violations on your record. You should contact the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety for more information on individual cases. The DPS can be contacted on phone by calling (405) 425-2424 or by visiting a local DPS office. You can also contact them by mail at:
Department of Public Safety
P. O. Box 11415 Oklahoma City, OK 73136