Actual Physical Control in Oklahoma
In the state of Oklahoma, you may be criminally charged for simply sitting in your vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more. The charge is called actual physical control or APC, and it is commonly referred to as a non-driving DUI.
The purpose of the actual physical control charge is to curtail drivers who are overly intoxicated from “sleeping it off” in their car only to wake up and drive while still under the influence. However, this means that responsible drivers who realize they have had too much to drink and choose to take shelter in their vehicle may be punished for making the right decision to not drive while intoxicated.
In order to convict you of APC, the state must show that you were under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating substance to the degree that it rendered you incapable of safely operating the vehicle. Additionally, the prosecution must show that you had the ability to control the vehicle—that is, be able to start and drive it. It does not matter if you were asleep, passed out, or sitting in the passenger seat.
In Oklahoma, a first-offense APC charge is treated no differently than a first-time DUI charge. This means that if convicted, you could face:
- Between 10 days and one year in jail
- A fine of up to $1,000 plus additional court costs
- Mandatory alcohol assessment and participation in all recommended treatments
- Mandatory victim impact panel attendance
- Community service
- A drivers license suspension of six months
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device
It is important to understand that if you are charged with DUI or APC, you will actually be facing two separate cases—a criminal one, filed by the state of Oklahoma, and an administrative one that is carried out by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS). Depending on your prior history, the DPS can suspend your drivers license for anywhere from 180 days to three years.
Keep in mind that the criminal case and the DPS case are separate and distinct. This means that it is possible to be found not guilty on the criminal side but still lose your license for a significant period of time on the DPS side (and vice versa).