Thursday, May 28, 2009

Five Alabama Cops Fired

The video is disturbing. What is interesting is that it wasn't caught till later when the prosecutors were preparing to try him for assault from the same incident. It is apparent in Anthony Warren's mug shot that he was badly beaten. Mr. Warren was unconscious and did not know he was beaten, He thought the injuries were from the car accident. Mr. Warren pled guilty to the assault and was sentenced to 20 years.

5 Cops Fired for beating Man

The following video is very disturbing. Men who have sworn to uphold the law are beating a defenseless man who appears to be injured. Their job is to uphold the law, not dispense their personal version of justice. The courts are designed for administering punishment.
If a normal citizen acted in the manner these men did, they would quickly be placed in jail. View the video and see for yourself:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


What is a Super Lawyer? This could mean many different things but John and I are the first DUI attorneys in Oklahoma to have been formally recognized as Super Lawyers by Law and Politics.
This distinction is available to the over 10,000 attorneys in the Ste of Oklahoma but is limited to the top 5%. Every attorney is surveyed for their opinion on the nominees and their background is checked along with their records for representing their clients.
This is an honor because it is recognition based heavily from our peers who see our work on a daily basis.
John and I have been selected every year since the first recognition in Oklahoma.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Oklahoma DUI Penalties


If you are charged with DUI (driving under the influence) or APC (actual physical control) in Oklahoma, your charge may be filed in either city court or state court. If your charge is filed in city court, the DUI penalties will vary depending on the jurisdiction. Most municipalities have DUI penalties that carry up to 30, 60, or 90 days in the city jail. Oklahoma City and Tulsa municipal courts carry up to 180 days in their jails. The fines in Oklahoma City and Tulsa municipal courts are up to $1200.00. while the other municipal courts carry fines up to $750.00.

If you were charged with DUI or APC in the District (also called the State) Court, then the penalty is set by state statute. A misdemeanor DUI or APC carries 10 days to one year in the county jail and/or up to a $1000.00. State statutes also provide for additional sentencing options to include a victim’s compensation assessment (VCA) of up to $5000.00, community service hours, and installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. Although the VCA is mandatory, it is generally under $500.00 and the other sentencing options are not mandatory and may not be required.

If you have had a prior conviction for DUI or APC within the previous ten years from a court of record, you may be charged with a felony. This is explained in more detail in other entries in this blog. If it is your first felony DUI or felony APC, the penalty range is a minimum of one year to a maximum of five years in the state penitentiary and/or a fine of up to $2500.00.

If your charge is your second felony DUI charge (one prior felony DUI/APC conviction), then the punishment range increases to a minimum of one year to a maximum of seven years in the state penitentiary and/or a fine of up to $5000.00. If it is your third felony charge (two prior felony DUI/APC convictions), the punishment range is a minimum of one year and a maximum of 10 years in the state penitentiary and/or a fine of up to $7500.00.

Even if your case is horrible, there are other options beside jail. Our statutes provide for treatment options, deferred sentences, suspended sentences, community sentencing, and DUI Court programs. Any one or combination of these options can result in no jail time and in some conviction. Some of these options requires action as soon as possible so it is important to contact Bruce Edge or John Hunsucker as soon as possible so we can form a successful strategy for you.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Channel 9 DUI Loophole Story

On May 6, 2009, Channel 9 in Oklahoma City ran a piece called the DUI Loophole. Apparently, in some areas, possible DUI offenders are not getting charged because the hospitals are not calling the police when there is an accident involving alcohol. They claim that the hospitals are doing this because they are concerned they won't get paid by the insurance company if alcohol is involved.

The interesting part of the story is that Channel nine interviewed medical professionals and an Assistant District Attorney from TEXAS. Were they not able to get one of the several hundred Oklahoma District Attorneys or Assistant District Attorneys to comment? They commented they contacted Oklahoma legislators but only two responded. The two that did respond said it was not a problem in Oklahoma.

This is another example of the the media trying to sensationalize a problem tjhat doesn't exist here. Oklahoma has a statute that mandates that blood is withdrawn anytime there is an accident involving great bodily injury or death and the officer believes that the driver may be under the influence of alcohol. This is a forced blood draw wherein the accused does not have the ability to refuse.

In accidents that don't involve serious injuries and/or death, the police officer at the scene will still request a blood or breath sample under Oklahoma's Implied Consent Law.

Simply put, this is just an attempt to sensationalize a problem that just doesn't exist in Oklahoma.

Seems out of Balance- OHP Officer Charged with Assault

Oklahoma Highway patrol trooper Jacob Rowland was charged with assault for repeatedly kicking a handcuffed suspect in the chest. The female suspect was charged with placing bodily waste on an officer after the trooper complained that she spat on him.
Supposedly the video from the troopers car shows him kicking her but does not show her actions. In the car while going to jail she asked why he kicked and he said she spit on him--the suspect denied having done so.
The interesting and encouraging issue here is that the complaint against the trooper was not filed by the suspect--it was filed by other troopers on the scene!!! They stepped over the blue line and did not turn their back because he was a fellow officer. Kudos to these troopers.
Under Oklahoma law, the suspect will be charged with a felony for the alleged spitting and the trooper will be charged with a misdemeanor for kicking a handcuffed suspect on the ground. That is the law.
OHP declined to release a copy of the video to the public.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Misdemeanor DUI or Felony DUI

Misdemeanor DUI vs. Felony DUI

In Oklahoma, DUI (driving under the influence) and APC (actual physical control) can be charged as either a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge. If your charge is filed in the municipal court, then the charge will be a misdemeanor as municipal courts do not have the jurisdiction to file felony charges. One caveat...a city police officer can cause the charge to be filed in the county district court or municipal court.

If your DUI arrest is your first arrest, then the charge will be a misdemeanor. In order for a DUI or APC charge to be a felony, you must have a previous DUI or APC conviction from a court of record within the previous ten years. The only courts of record in Oklahoma are the county District Courts or the municipal courts of Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Thus, if your prior DUI conviction was from Edmond, Midwest City, Jenks, etc, your new DUI charge will still be a misdemeanor as these are not courts of records.

The second requirement needed to enhance your DUI or APC to a felony is that the prior must have resulted in a conviction for DUI or APC. If your charge was reduced to a non DUI/APC charge like reckless or careless driving, then your new DUI charge cannot be filed as a felony. If you received a deferred sentence on your prior DUI charge, then the new charge will still be a misdemeanor as a deferred sentence is not a conviction.

The third requirement to enhance your new DUI charge to a felony is that your prior conviction must have occurred within the previous ten years. This requirement runs conviction date to conviction date. So, if your prior conviction occurred on Jan 2, 1999 and you are arrested on January 1, 2009, you may be charged with a felony DUI but it would have to be reduced to a misdemeanor as it would be impossible for the State to obtain a conviction in one day. Thus, the second conviction date would fall outside the ten years and would force a reduction in the charge to a misdemeanor.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Time Is Important

When arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Oklahoma, an administrative hearing must be requested within 15 days of receiving notice that DPS is going to suspend your license. This notice is normally given to you when you are arrested and is contained on the back of the Officer's Affidavit and Notice of Disqualification. The 15 days is jurisdictional and if missed, generally there is nothing that can be done to save your license.

Time is also important as the sooner Bruce and I can start investigating your case, the higher the liklihood that we can preserve evidence that can protect you. For instance, there are several breath Intoxilyzer rooms that contain video cameras but the cameras are on a loop that erases and records over itself every 10 -15 days. If we are contacted early, we can preserve this tape which can show inconsistences in how the test was administered.

Daily Oklahoman DUI Mistake

This last weekend, the Daily Oklahoman did a story about DUI and sports figures. Instead of going to a credible source, they got their information from the lobbying group MADD. The article in the paper stated that if you are arrested for DUI and your breath alcohol level is .15 or higher, you will be charged with Aggravated DUI. While Oklahoma has an Aggravated DUI Statute, not every county charges it.

The mistake in the paper was that the article stated that the penalty for Aggravated DUI was the same as a third time felony. The penalty for a third time felony is 1-10 years in the state penitentiary and/or up to a $7500.00 fine. This is incorrect.

Aggravated DUI is cover under Title 47 Section 11-902 of the Oklahoma Statutes and is as follows:

"D. Any person who is convicted of a violation of driving under the influence with a blood or breath alcohol concentration of fifteen-hundredths (0.15) or more pursuant to this section shall be deemed guilty of aggravated driving under the influence. A person convicted of aggravated driving under the influence shall participate in an assessment and evaluation by an assessment agency or assessment personnel certified by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services pursuant to Section 3-460 of Title 43A of the Oklahoma Statutes and shall comply with all recommendations for treatment. Such person shall be sentenced to not less than one (1) year of supervision and periodic testing at the defendant’s expense, four hundred eighty (480) hours of community service, and an ignition interlock device for a minimum of thirty (30) days. Nothing in this subsection shall preclude the defendant from being charged or punished as provided in paragraph 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 of subsection C of this section."

As you can see, the Aggravated DUI language just adds additional requirements but not change the standard punishment range which for District Court cases is 10 days to one year and/or a fine up to $1000. for misdeameanor cases, 1-5 years and/or a fine of up to $2500 for first felony DUI, 1-7 years and/or fine of up to $5000 for 2nd felony, and 1-10 years and/or fine of up to $7500 for 3rd or subsequent felony DUI/

Oklahoma DUI License Suspensions

Length Of Time For Oklahoma Driver’s License DUI Suspensions.

If you are arrested for an Oklahoma DUI (driving under the influence) or APC (actual physical control), the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS) will attempt to suspend your Oklahoma driving privileges for a period of 180 days if you have not had any prior license suspensions within the previous ten years.

If you have had a previous driver’s license suspension within the previous ten years then the license suspension will be for a period of one year. If it is your third license suspension within ten years, the license suspension will be for a period of three years.

There is no such thing as a work permit in Oklahoma. It is possible to receive modified driving privileges if you only have a 180 day license suspension. This modification requires the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle and can allow for driving 24 hours a day/seven days a week as long as in a vehicle with the ignition interlock device.

A CDL (commercial driver’s license) may not be modified. However, under certain circumstances, you may be allowed to drive company vehicles with an ignition interlock device.

One year and three year revocations may not be modified. The only way to keep driving is to request the hearing timely, win the DPS hearing, and avoid a conviction on the criminal charge. This is possible and Bruce and I have done this numerous times. Contact us for more information.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


John had a very good post about the DUI "Specialist".
It makes me shudder when I hear an attorney refer to a case as a "Simple DUI". That says
he does not plan to develop the case, look for weaknesses or defenses--he is going to take the money and quickly do some paper work.
Currently in Oklahoma it takes approximately 4 months to handle a DUI case properly. This is not a 'simple' DUI; it is a case that is being properly developed and defended.

I would suggest you look for the following things in deciding if someone is truly a DUI attorney or an attorney who just wants to make a quick buck from a DUI--there is a big difference:

  • Will they meet you at the courthouse or interview over the phone rather than requiring a personal interview in their office?
  • How many books have they authored specific to DUI?
  • Are the trained as SFST (field sobriety) practitioners and Instructors?
  • Have the taught SFST classes?
  • Are they DRE (drugs) trained?
  • Are they certified by the State BOT to operate and maintain the Intoxilyzer?
  • Are they trained to operate the Intoxilyzer 8000?
  • How many Intoxilyer 5000's do they own?
  • How many Intoxliyer 8000's do they own?
  • How many national DUI specific seminars do they attend annually?
  • Have they taught other attorneys nationally regarding DUI defense?
  • Have they taught Oklahoma Judges about DUI Defense?
  • Have they taught police officers in CLEET academy's?
  • Were they the first Oklahoma lawyers recognized as Super Lawyers and have they continued to be recognized for multiple years?
  • Are they Fellows in the Litigation Counsel of America?
  • Have they attended specialized training regarding the HGN test as it relates to eye movement and muscle imbalance?
  • Have they attended multiple blood courses including Lab evaluations?
  • Have they been trained to actually operate the GC-MS lab machine and had experience doing so?

These are a few of the items that will help distinguish the professional DUI Attorney from the opportunistic pretenders.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Subsequent DUIs

Occasionally, citizens arrested for DUI are also arrested for driving under suspension. When explaining the importance of requesting an Administrative Hearing with the Department of Public Safety, the client will tell me that it doesn't matter because they are currently suspending and they don't think that there is any reason to fight the new driver's license suspension.

It is these cases where it is especially important to fight the suspension. If the client is suspended, a further suspension will be tacked on to the current suspension. If the client is on a 180 suspension from a previous DUI, then the new suspension period will be for ONE YEAR and is NOT modifiable. If the client is on a one year suspension, then the new suspension will be for THREE YEARS and is NOT midifiable. It is important to fight the license suspension EVERY time.

Friday, May 1, 2009

DUI Specialists

Over the last year, Bruce and I have seen several new "DUI Attorneys" or "DUI Specialists" popping up on the internet. These are criminal attorneys who think that DUI cases are an easy way to make money. DUI cases are an easy way to make money if you just take the case and plea it at the first opportunity. These dump truck lawyers will mislead you as they are wanting to compete with the real DUI Lawyers that have taken the time and spent the money to educate themselves to protect their clients.

How can you protect yourself? Ask questions. Do you limit your practice to DUI defense? Are you certified to not only administer field sobriety tests but are you also an Instructor? Have you ever taught DUI defense to other lawyers? Have you written any books on the subject of DUI Defense? Do you own an Intoxilyzer 5000 and 8000? Have you attended any advance blood seminars? Have you ever visited a blood lab?

Anyone can put up a website and get a vanity DUI phone number. Anyone can join the National College for DUI Defense. If they are serious about DUI Defense, then they should have and currently be attending the College's Trial College held at Harvard each summer. Several of these new "DUI Attorneys" have never been to a regional or national DUI seminar.

This is one reason Bruce and I offer free consultations as we feel it is important that you have a comparision with real DUI lawyers that practice solely DUI defense. Even if you are considering another attorney, it is worth your time to schedule your free consultation so that you can rest assured that the attorney you hire is what he or she says they are. There is nothing to lose and you will receive your free copy of the Oklahoma DUI Survival Guide that Bruce and I co-authored. To schedule your free consultation, call John at 1-888-DUI-ARREST if in Oklahoma City/Western Oklahoma or Bruce at 1-877-DUI-EDGE if in Tulsa/Eastern Oklahoma.