This page will help you understand Oklahoma alcohol laws and avoid expensive fines or even jail. Not to mention time and embarrassment.
Oklahoma alcohol laws cover all alcoholic beverages in the state. Laws of most concern to most people involve drinking. Alcohol laws vary from state to state. They even vary within each state. The result is confusion. But breaking one can cause big problems.
So the goal of this page is to help you learn about Oklahoma alcohol laws and avoid any trouble.
I. Minimum Ages for Alcohol
II. More Alcohol Laws
I. Minimum Ages for Alcohol
Young people may seek part-time jobs. Hospitality offers many. Youths may want to know the age needed for them. Many involve alcohol.
At what age can they be servers in venues selling alcohol? What about selling alcohol for drinking off-site? And is what is the age for tending bar? Young people have questions. So we have facts for them.
Oklahoma alcohol laws require that servers in venues selling alcohol be adults. That is, they must be at least 18. They must be at least 21 to tend bar or to work in a store selling alcohol for drinking off-site.
No state law prohibits all drinking by those of any age under 21. They may drink 3.2 beer. But they must be with a parent or guardian.
Those under 21 may also buy such beverages under the supervision of a parent or guardian. But they may not drink them on the premises of a retailer.
It is a crime to use a false ID to buy alcohol. A conviction can lead to driver’s license suspension.
It is illegal for those under 21 to drive with alcohol in the body. That is, their BAC must be no higher than 0.00%. However, as shown below, this can convict innocent drivers.
II. More Oklahoma Alcohol Laws
A. Selling Alcohol
It’s a violation of Oklahoma alcohol laws to sell alcohol to anyone under age 21. That includes adults under 21. Of course, as indicated above, unless they’re under the supervision of a parent or guardian.
Grocery and convenience stores can sell only low-point beer or “near beer.” That’s beer between 0.5% and 3.2% alcohol by weight. But they can’t sell it between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Retailers must sell at room temperature all beverages over 3.2% alcohol by weight. That includes beer, wine and spirits.
It’s illegal to sell alcohol for consumption off-premises on certain days. These include Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sale is legal on election day. Retailers may sell alcohol on Sundays if voters in a county approve.
Liquor stores can only sell alcohol between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. Effective on the above date, alcohol sales may begin at 8 a.m.
Also see map of wet and dry counties at the very bottom of this page.
B. Buying Alcohol
It’s illegal for anyone under 21 to buy alcohol or to attempt to buy it. Doing so is a misdemeanor. Except as noted above.
Property owners may not permit anyone under 21 to drink on their property. The punishment for doing so is a fine and prison for up to five years.
Oklahoma alcohol laws prohibit drinking alcohol in public. Intoxication in public is also illegal. The penalty for either is a fine and jail for at last five days. However, it could be as long as 30 days.
Oklahoma alcohol laws prohibit driving under the influence (DUI). That is, driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Also, driving under impairment with a BAC below is illegal. Of course, that depends on the officer’s opinion. So that’s very subjective.
Drivers at least 21
These rules apply to drivers age 21 or older.
• Blood alcohol between 0.001% and 0.05% is not intoxication.
• A BAC between 0.051% and 0.079% is impairment. However, courts need more evidence for conviction.
• Blood alcohol of 0.08% or higher is proof of intoxication.
Of course, many alcoholics have a very high level of alcohol tolerance. For that reason, a BAC even over 0.08% doesn’t impair them. Nevertheless, lawyers can’t present evidence of non-impairment in court.
The penalties for DUI depend on the facts and the judge. Thus, some of the penalties can vary greatly depending on luck. No one wants a Judge Judy to hear their case.
A first DUI conviction leads to jail for at least ten days. However, it could be as long as one year. The state revokes the driver’s license for 180 days. And the fine is up to $1,000.
A second offense within ten years of the first increases the penalties. Prison is at least one year. But it could be as long as five years. If there was a revocation for DUI within the past five years, it’s now for one year.
After the revocation expires, the driver must have an ignition interlock device on the vehicle. The engine won’t start if there is any alcohol in the driver’s breath. The device must remain for six months to three years. Of course, the offender pays the high costs of this.
The penalties increase for a more convictions. Prison is from one to ten years. The state increases it to three years for two or more DUI revocations within five years.
The fine is up to $5,000. In addition, the state requires an ignition interlock device for up to three years after the revocation expires.
Drivers Under 21
Most other states set DUI for those under 21 at 0.02% or higher. They do this for several reasons. One is that alcohol breath testers are unreliable. In fact, they don’t actually measure BAC. They only estimate it.
A second reason is that everyone produces alcohol naturally within their bodies 24/7. And they don’t wait until age 21 to do so. Finally, many meds as well as foods contain alcohol. Even bread does. So setting the level at 0.02% reduces the chances of unfairly convicting innocent people.
The state penalizes a first conviction with a six-month license revocation. Also, a $100-$500 fine and/or community service, and/or a treatment program.
A second conviction leads to a one-year license revocation. The fine is $100-$1,000 and/or community service, and/or a treatment program.
Drivers Under 18
Oklahoma drinking laws are different for those under 18 who have alcohol-related traffic violations. This also extends to non-drivers. The penalties include license suspension for six months to two years.
It’s illegal to have an open alcohol container in anywhere in a vehicle accessible to the driver. Therefore it must be in the trunk or behind the back seat.
Drivers of any age have a U.S. Constitutional right to decline any law officer request to take a BAC breath test. However, the state punishes anyone using that right. To do so, the state automatically revokes the license for the same period that it would if a court convicted the driver.
Punishment does not apply for refusing to take a field sobriety test. No state requires it. However, officers often try to intimidate drivers into taking it. The test is highly subjective and unreliable. Specifically, about one-third of people with a 0.00 BAC fail it.
For this reason, lawyers strongly urge their clients not to take a field sobriety test. Politely refuse. And do so as long as necessary. So take their advice.
Also learn more at Never Take a Field Sobriety Test Say DUI Lawyers.
Have a BAC of 0.08% or higher.
Are under the influence of any other substance making them incapable of safely operating a vessel.
Are under the influence of alcohol and any other substance making them incapable of safely operating a vessel.
The penalty for a first offense is a fine of up to $1,000. Any later convictions result in a fine of at last $1,000. However, it could be as high as $2,500.
The state can use declining to submit to a BAC test against the operator in court.
III. Resources on Oklahoma Alcohol Laws
IV. Advice about Drinking Laws Oklahoma
Oklahoma alcohol laws can be hard to understand. The same is true in other states. The laws change. Courts change their interpretation. Laws often conflict. Lawyers spend years in law school. So do not rely on this site. Nor on any other site.
Nor on friends, family. co-workers, etc. Listen to their ideas. Smile, and thank them. Then ignore what they say. It’s worth what you paid for it. That is, not a whole lot.
Get advice about Oklahoma alcohol laws from an expert. That is a lawyer who holds a license in the state. Trust no other. Laws vary widely across the state. Therefore, it’s a good idea to select one in your county.
So now you know more about Oklahoma alcohol laws than do most residents of the state! Also, do you think any other items should be added to this page? If so, email hansondj [at sign] potsdam [dot] edu/ In fact, other readers have helped improve this website. So thank you!