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.

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