An Oklahoma City man was arrested as a suspected drunk driver when he reportedly crashed his truck in a parking lot of an Oklahoma City Walmart. According to witnesses at the scene, the man had crashed his truck into a light pole in the parking lot shortly before 10 p.m. on Friday, June 7. Local law enforcement officers later arrived at the scene, where the man was still in his vehicle. According to reports, officers detected the smell of alcohol on the man and noted that his speech was slurred and eyes bloodshot. Officers stated that the man said the crash was an accident and that he admittedly told officers that he had “a couple beers.”
HEIGHTENED DUI PENALTIES
The man had two children with him in his truck at the time of the accident. Their names and ages were not made available. Both children did not have seatbelts and sustained facial lacerations after colliding with the windshield. Emergency aid arrived and the children were taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for their injuries. After failing three sobriety tests, law enforcement officers arrested and booked the man into the Oklahoma County jail fir DUI and child endangerment.
In Oklahoma, driving under the influence (DUI) with a child in the vehicle is sufficient grounds for heightened consequences. Considered a highly negligent and careless act, local court systems and prosecutors commonly push for enhanced charges and more severe penalties. In fact, a recent law passed in 2009 makes it a felony to have a child present in the car when the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Although precise charges and penalties may vary according to the circumstances at hand, child endangerment resulting from a DUI is punishable by up to four years in state prison, a fine of up to $5,000 dollars, or both. Parents of the children who are not driving may also be subjected to the same charges if they knew, or should have reasonably known, that the driver was intoxicated.
SEEK LEGAL REPRESENTATION TO DEFEND YOUR FREEDOM
This local man’s arrest demonstrates a few crucial errors all Oklahoma residents can learn from. First, the man admitted to drinking. By law, anyone suspected of a criminal offense, including a DUI, has the right to remain silent. In fact, remaining silent is one of the most powerful rights that American citizens possess, and can ensure that nothing said can be used against them during their criminal case. Additionally, the man consented to taking field sobriety tests, which are inaccurate assessments of intoxication and optional. No one is required to take field sobriety tests, but breath or blood tests are mandatory. Refusing to take a chemical test can subject an individual to automatic license suspensions.
With more than a century of combined experience, our Oklahoma criminal defense attorneys at Atkins & Markoff have seen a wide range of DUI cases and the ways in which laws have evolved and become increasingly harsh. While a serious crime that no one should ever take lightly, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can become even more devastating when heightened charges are involved, including child endangerment. In an effort to defend against exorbitant fines, possible terms of imprisonment, license suspensions, and a variety of other consequences, anyone charged with a DUI should make retaining experienced legal representation their first priority. If you or your loved one is facing any type of DUI allegation, contact an Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer from Atkins & Markoff for the aggressive representation you need.