Social Media Helps Return A Stolen Car At DUI Checkpoint

checkpointA driving under the influence (DUI) checkpoint is one of the main ways police stop drunk drivers, and no matter where you go in the United States, you could encounter a DUI checkpoint anywhere you drive.

Normally at DUI checkpoints, the police require you to slow down then pull over, and once you do they’ll ask you for your driver’s license and registration and assess whether or not you are impaired. If they suspect you are, they will require you to blow into a breathalyzer to assess your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Although DUI checkpoints have been used to fight against drinking and driving for years, police have recently struggled with how to address people on social media leaking information about where checkpoints are located. By posting an update on Twitter or Facebook, police feel that people are helping potential drunk drivers avoid a checkpoint.

But social media was responsible for a very successful checkpoint in Oklahoma recently, and it put one driver in hot water for more than just driving under the influence. Edward Sofsky, a 23-year old, was driving a red SUV when he was pulled over by police to stop at a checkpoint. He failed to provide his driver’s license and insurance, and when the deputies ran the plate on the vehicle, they discovered it had been reported stolen.

The incredible twist to this story came when a woman saw the photo of Sofsky’s arrest beside the vehicle on Facebook and contacted the police through social media to let them know that the stolen vehicle was hers.

She has since recovered her vehicle, but Sofsky’s facing multiple charges including driving under the influence of drugs, possession of a firearm after a felony conviction, and operating a vehicle with a suspended license. In Oklahoma, that means if he ever drivers again, he’ll be doing so with an ignition interlock device installed in his vehicle.

Clearly there’s both good and bad to sharing information about DUI checkpoints on social media, but at least this situation turned out well for the police who apprehended an intoxicated driver and the person who had their vehicle stolen.

The real cost of a DUI in Oklahoma

ignition interlock When you’ve got a drink in one hand and a set of keys in the other, you’re probably not thinking long term. Alcohol has a way of clouding rational thought, and although you might have known before you started drinking that driving would be a bad idea, that could go out the window when it’s time to actually put the keys in the ignition.

But not thinking about the long-term consequences of drinking and driving can cost you a lot, and with the possibility of crashing and injuring or killing someone, you’ll be considered lucky if that cost only hits you right in the bank account.

Need an example? One Oklahoma man received a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction and found out the hard way that a DUI can cost thousands of dollars. In addition to driver’s license reinstatement fees, he must pay drug and alcohol assessment fees, DUI course fees, and a monthly ignition interlock fee for 18 months. Those fees add up to approximately $3,000, and there may be more depending on the case.

Most states have the same types of penalties and fines. Oklahoma DUI laws require that repeat offenders pay up to $5,000 in fines, while a DUI in California can net you fines up to $2,600 for a first offender, and that doesn’t include the required ignition interlock fees or any DUI course you may be required to attend.

There’s a reason why there are billboards, public service announcements, and ad campaigns designed to stop you from drinking and driving – it can derail your entire life. Not only does driving under the influence have the potential to kill or injure innocent people, the license suspension and fines can empty your bank account and may cost you your job.

The next time you know you’re going to be drinking, appoint a sober driver ahead of time so you won’t be tempted to make a bad decision.

It’s Time To Stop Underage Drinking And Driving In Oklahoma

Ignorance may be bliss when it comes to a lot of things, but no one living in the United States can honestly say they don’t know that choosing to drink and drive is dangerous. There are public awareness campaigns on behalf of law enforcement, media coverage of the launch of new ignition interlock programs and modifications to driving under the influence (DUI) laws, and even billboards asking people to call in drunk drivers. Despite the push to end drunk driving, every single day there are people, including teens not old enough to drink, who put the keys in the ignition and drive while under the influence.

One family in Oklahoma knows the pain of losing someone to a teen drunk driver all too well – their mother, Debra Reed, died after being hit by 20-year-old woman who was drinking and driving. Not only was she not old enough to drink, her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was twice the legal limit and she already had one DUI on record.

Time To Stop Underage Drinking And Driving In OklahomaThat senseless tragedy was enough to motivate one Oklahoma lawmaker to seek changes to Oklahoma DUI laws. Rep. John Enns would like to crack down on all drunk drivers in the state, but his main focus is on young drunk drivers who shouldn’t have been drinking in the first place.

Current Oklahoma DUI law for individuals under 21 includes fines, community service or a treatment program, and a driver’s license suspension for a period of time. Enns is proposing a bill that would require any underage drinker, even first offenders, who are caught drinking and driving to have their driver’s license taken away until he or she turns 21. He also added a component to the bill that would require anyone drinking and driving to have ‘DUI’ stamped on their license, preventing them from purchasing alcohol for 3 years.

The law Enns is proposing could be the wake up call Oklahoma needs to stop drinking and driving, and it may prevent another tragedy caused by a young drinking driver. For more information on how you can stop your teen from choosing to drink and drive, take a look at Guardian Interlocks’ post on talking to your teen about drunk driving.

Oklahoma DUI Law Doesn’t Cover Tractors

Oklahoma DUI LawsSome people don’t realize you can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) on almost any type of vehicle. From ride-on lawnmowers, souped-up Powerwheels, and the Zamboni that cleans the ice at your local rink – you can be arrested for DUI on any of them, because they’re all considered to be motor vehicles. But did you know that in Oklahoma, you can’t be arrested for drunk driving while on a tractor?

Yes, a tractor is a motor vehicle, but some motor vehicles are subject to different state classifications. In the case of a tractor, under Oklahoma DUI law a tractor is not considered a motor vehicle because it falls under the heading ‘implements of husbandry.’ Loosely translated, it means any device, whether it is self-propelled, designed, or modified specifically, to be used in agriculture or farming.

What’s the difference between getting stopped for DUI on a ride on lawnmower as opposed to a tractor in Oklahoma? According to Oklahoma DUI law, if it’s your first time getting stopped for drinking and driving on your lawn mower, you’ll receive anywhere from 5 to 10 days in jail, pay fines up to $1,000, and lose your driver’s license for a period of 30 days. You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle you drive, and because you can’t install an ignition interlock on a ride-on lawnmower, you won’t be able to drive it.

If you were caught drinking and driving on a tractor, you wouldn’t be subject to Oklahoma DUI law, but you could be charged with something else. What if you accidentally crashed into someone’s property or hit someone while driving your tractor drunk? At that point, the charges would be up to the police, and there are a lot of different charges they could levy that don’t include drunk driving.

The bottom line is this – even if it’s not illegal to drive a tractor while intoxicated in Oklahoma, it’s still dangerous. Anytime you drink and get behind the wheel of any kind of machinery, you’re taking a chance with your life and the lives of others. Stay safe while driving your car, your lawnmower, or your tractor and don’t drink before putting the keys in the ignition.

Photo credit fineartamerica.com

Ignition Interlock And DUI Laws
In Oklahoma

ignition interlock laws Oklahoma has driving under the influence (DUI) laws that include jail time, fines, and driver’s license suspensions for all offenders. The state also has an implied consent law, meaning if you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test when suspected of drinking and driving, you’ll immediately receive a six month driver’s license suspension and an 18 month ignition interlock requirement.

First time convicted DUI offenders in Oklahoma are subject to the following penalties:

  • Jail time from 5 days up to 1 year
  • Fines payable up to $1,000
  • Driver’s license suspension for a period of 30 days
  • The possibility of a required ignition interlock installation depending on the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at time of arrest

Repeat offenders will receive harsh penalties if they decide to drink and drive after a first DUI conviction in Oklahoma. Second or subsequent DUI offenses will receive the following penalties:

  • Jail time of 1 to 10 years
  • Fines payable up to $5,000
  • A driver’s license suspension of six months up to 1 year
  • A required ignition interlock installation in any vehicle the offender drives

In 2011, the state of Oklahoma passed the Erin Swezey Act. It was named after 20-year-old Oklahoma State University college student Erin Swezey, a driver who was killed after the vehicle she was in was hit head on by a drunk driver in 2009. The Act requires all repeat offenders or first-time convicted driving under the influence (DUI) offenders with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 to install an ignition interlock device. If a first time offender opts for a restricted driver’s license during their 6 month suspension, they can also install an interlock device.

In 2013, Oklahoma saw 3,824 alcohol-related crashes and 2,507 alcohol-related injuries. Although Oklahoma DUI laws are strict and passing the Erin Swezey Act is a good first step toward stopping drunk drivers, Oklahoma can go one step closer to achieving their goal of safe highways by signing up for an all offender ignition interlock bill.

Oklahoma Drinking And Boating Laws Are Ripe For Change

ignition interlock You might not be able to install an interlock device in a watercraft, but a family of an Oklahoma woman killed by a drunken boater is looking for other ways to strike back against people who choose to drink and drive on the water.

A former Miss Teen Oklahoma, Rachel Swetnam, was killed along with her friend after the driver of the boat she was in crashed at high speed into an unoccupied houseboat. The driver of the boat registered a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .18 at the time of the crash, over double the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle. But according to Oklahoma law, if you operate a water vessel while under the influence and it’s your first offense, you’ll only receive a fine of $1,000. If you receive a second conviction, you’ll pay up to $2,500. Those are fairly light penalties when you consider others states require the driver to lose their boating privileges, pay fines, and possibly end up in prison.

In this instance, the driver of the boat was sentenced to one year in prison and 14 years of probation for the deaths of Swetnam and her friend, but the family would also like people who drink and boat to be subject to the same penalties as if they were drinking and driving a vehicle. That’s why they are supporting Oklahoma House Bill 1714.

Oklahoma driving under the influence (DUI) law requires all first time offenders who are convicted of driving over .08 to lose their driver’s license for 180 days, spend up to one year in prison, and pay fines up to $1,000, but for boating under the influence you don’t even lose your driver’s license. If House Bill 1714 passes, anyone convicted of operating a vessel under the influence will lose their license for 30 days on a first conviction, 60 days for a second, and 90 days for a third.

A winter chill might still be in the air but spring and summer are right around the corner, and that means boating season is almost here again. Hopefully with the passing of House Bill 1714, Oklahoma lakes and rivers will be safer for everyone who boats on them.

New To The Interlock Device? The 411 On Rolling Retests In Oklahoma

interlock deviceOklahoma is one of the many states now requiring jail time for first offenders convicted of drinking and driving. In addition to jail time of up to one year, the crime of driving under the influence (DUI) is considered a misdemeanor and the offender will pay fines and receive six-month driver’s license suspension. For repeat offenders in Oklahoma, the laws are even tougher. A second offender could spend up to 5 years in jail, pay fines up to $2,500, and must install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle they drive.

In 2011, Oklahoma toughened up their DUI laws even more when the state passed the Erin Swezey Act. Named for a young girl killed by a repeat drunk driver, it requires ignition interlock devices for all first time driving under the influence offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher and all repeat offenders. The Act also allows first time offenders with a BAC of .08 to .14 to drive during their six-month suspension if they install an interlock device.

If you’ve received a DUI conviction in Oklahoma and are required to install an ignition interlock device under the Erin Swezey Act, you’ll probably wonder how it works to prevent drunk driving. Once the interlock device is installed, you’ll be asked to provide a breath sample each and every time you want to start your vehicle. The sample will be analyzed, and your results will be displayed on the display of the interlock device. If you receive a pass, you’ll be able to start your vehicle. If you receive a fail, you’ll have to wait a period of time to test again.

Rolling retests are a source of confusion for some Oklahoma drivers, but in reality the test is very simple. Once you are driving for a period of time, you’ll be asked to provide another breath sample. You’ll be given a short time frame to provide the breath sample, so if you’d like to pull over you’ll have time to do so.

If the sample you provide is over the limit set by your interlock provider, your car horn will honk and your lights will flash. Your car will never just turn off automatically and leave you stranded, and you’ll have time to pull over somewhere safely and turn your vehicle off.

Oklahoma DUI laws require a first offender to install an interlock device for up to 18 months, while repeat offenders may be required to take part in the interlock program for up to 5 years. For more information on Oklahoma DUI laws, visit Guardian Interlock’s Oklahoma State law page.

You Might Want To Just Say No To Buying Alcohol For Others In Oklahoma

ignition interlock Oklahoma already has strict driving under the influence (DUI) and ignition interlock laws, but if a new bill passes, the state might be taking a huge leap forward in the fight against drunk driving.

Senate Bill 30 has been introduced by state Sen. Patrick Anderson, and it would prevent anyone who is convicted of driving under the influence from buying or consuming alcohol for a set period of time. To keep them from purchasing alcohol, they would receive an ID with the label ‘Alcohol Restricted,’ and if they do attempt to purchase alcohol, they would be charged with failure to comply and sentenced in court.

But what if they just ask someone to go out and buy alcohol for them? Senate Bill 30 covers that too – if someone purchases alcohol for anyone under alcohol restriction, that person would be charged with a felony. If convicted, they could pay fines up to $1,000 and may be sentenced to one year in jail.

It might seem like a harsh step, but Oklahoma is a state dedicated to stopping drunk drivers from driving drunk again. Under current Oklahoma DUI laws, if police stop you on suspicion of drunk driving and you refuse to submit to the breathalyzer test, you’ll receive a 6 month driver’s license suspension and an ignition interlock for 18 months. If you’re a first offender convicted of DUI, you’ll receive the following penalties:

  • 5 days to one year in jail
  • Fines payable up to $1,000
  • 30 days driver’s license suspension

Repeat offenders are subject to even stricter penalties including jail time up to 10 years, fines payable up to $5,000, and a one year driver’s license suspension. Repeat offenders in Oklahoma also have to install an ignition interlock device for a set period of time.

Restricting convicted drunk drivers from purchasing alcohol could result in a drop in DUI arrests and crashes in Oklahoma, and it’s another step in the right direction for a state serious about stopping drunk drivers.

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