Oklahoma Criminal Defense Complicated by Immigration Regulations, Dream Act Becomes the Nightmare

The hardest thing for an Oklahoma Defense Attorney is to recommend a program of probation to a client who is an undocumented alien.  A lot of undocumented individuals don’t always share their immigration status with non family members and it is hard for a scared client to warm up to a recently hired attorney.

The experienced veteran criminal defense attorney will make it a point to take the time to share with the client experiences that will help in the ultimate defense.  As an overview, I will present the a very brief overview of the law of DUI and some of the penalties in order to set up the problem.

Oklahoma DUI Criminal Penalties

Oklahoma Criminal Penalties for 1st Time DUI Offenders, 2nd Time DUI Offenders, 3rd Time DUI Offenders and 4th TimeDUI Offenders

What are the Oklahoma DUI Criminal Penalties?In Oklahoma, you can have charges filed against you in City or District Court for DUIDWI or APC:

  • DUI is Driving Under the Influence of an alcoholic beverage or drugs and is normally noted by a breath alcohol content of .08 or more.  More than six beers or mixed drinks consumed at the rate of every 15 minutes.  If you consume one ounce of 80 proof alcohol per hour then the net B.A.C. (blood alcohol content) will generally be in the zero range.
  • DWI is Driving While Impaired and is recognized as a breath test of .06 or .07.  Your drivers license will be suspended for 30 days and you will have to pay big bucks for reinstatement and DUI schools.
  • APC is Actual Physical Control. Oklahoma has no ‘safe harbor’provision – that is if you pull over to sleep it off, you are still guilty ofAPC if you are intoxicated and in control of your vehicle even if it is not running.  For example, if the keys are within reach and you are behind the wheel, you are toast!  Put the keys outside of the car and you can saw logs to your heart’s content, be sure to draw a map where you hid the keys or you may face a long walk when you wake up with a bad hangover.

DUI Penalties can range as follows:

  • City case: 0-6 months.  Muncipalities view DUI’s as a lucrative source of tax revenue.  Usual expenditure $1,500 – $2,000.  Ouch!
  • First time county charge: 10 days to 1 year in County jail.  Court Costs, minimum $750.00, fines up to $1,000 and extra fees related to mental health, Prosecutor Fees, Sheriff Fees, and many other fees, expect to pay $500 in extra fees.
  • Felonies range from: 1-20 years in the State penitentiary and fines up to $5,000.  Normally jail time related to multiple offenses beginning with 60 days mandatory.
  • An accident resulting in death can generate a Manslaughter charge, which carries up to Life in the penitentiary.  Please don’t kill anybody, it ruins everybody’s day.
  • A first time DUI with a child in the car can be charged as a Felony and up to 4 years in the penitentiary.

These are the basic criminal DUI penalties. Prior convictions, accidents with injures, high breath/blood alcohol can result additional penalties. The above listing is merely a starting point and is by no means all-inclusive.

Say, for example that, a plea deal is worked out with the Assistant District Attorney or the Assistant City Attorney, whereby the client will perform some community service, pay a fine, attend a DUI school, and follow the rules of probation for one year or less, then the charges will be dismissed, and the case expunged.  Life is good for the accused, however, if the accused is an undocumented alien, life is not so good. The Immigration Service will treat the alcohol or drug related driving offense as a conviction whether or not the client was convicted.  A deferred sentence will work to block the undocumented alien’s chances to ever immigrate to the U.S.  Dream Act is foiled.  The dream becomes the nightmare.

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