Alcohol laws of Oklahoma

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Location of Oklahoma

The alcohol laws of Oklahoma comprehensively limit and regulate the sale of alcohol in Oklahoma. Much like its neighboring state of Kansas (see Alcohol laws of Kansas), Oklahoma's approach to alcohol is quite strict. Oklahoma's approach contrasts sharply with that of another neighboring state, Missouri (see Alcohol laws of Missouri), which has some of the nation's least restrictive alcohol control laws.

Any beverage containing more than 3.2% alcohol by weight or 4% alcohol by volume, that is, most liquors, wines, and typical beer, may only be sold in licensed liquor stores at room temperature.[1]

To circumvent the alcohol content restrictions, beer distributors in Oklahoma primarily sell low-point beer. This allows the beer to be sold not only in convenience stores and supermarkets, but in refrigerated form. The law defines low-point beer as any beverage containing between 0.5% and 3.2% alcohol by weight.[2]

Minors under the age of 21 are not permitted to possess or purchase alcohol; however, consumption in a "private setting" is not prohibited by Oklahoma law. Minors may not have a blood alcohol level of more than .02%.

Liquor sales[edit]

Under Oklahoma law, it is a felony to provide alcoholic beverages to the "mentally deficient," the intoxicated, and persons under 21 years of age.[3] Although low-point beer may not be sold where unclothed persons or persons with exposed private parts are present on the same premises, alcohol sales are available by the glass if permitted by the county. Conviction of this crime is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 for each offense.[4]

Off-premises[edit]

It is illegal to sell packaged liquor (off-premises sales) on Sundays. Sales also are prohibited on Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.[5] Low-point beer for consumption off-premises may not be sold between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.[6]

People who have been convicted of a felony or any alcohol-related crime may not obtain a license to sell packaged alcohol.[7]

On-premises[edit]

In Oklahoma, each county decides for itself whether it will permit the sale of alcohol by the glass.[5] Low-point beer may not be sold for consumption on-premises or allowed to be consumed in places licensed to sell alcohol between 2:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. This crime is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to 6 months imprisonment.[8]

Licensed vendors may not advertise happy hours, serve more than two beverages at a time to a customer, give a discount to a person or group of persons, or permit the play of games that involve drinking.[9]

Open container[edit]

In public[edit]

It is illegal to consume or inhale intoxicating beverages in public in Oklahoma. It also is illegal to be drunk or intoxicated in any public place. These crimes are punishable by a fine of between $10 and $150 and between 5 and 30 days of imprisonment.[10] These crimes may cost more as fines to individual cities rather than the state (e.g. Stillwater[11] and Oklahoma City[12]).

Driving[edit]

Opened bottles or any alcoholic beverage with a broken seal may not be stored in an area of the vehicle accessible to the driver.[9] As a result, Oklahoma meets the provisions of the federal Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century for prohibitions of open containers in vehicles.[13]

DUI[edit]

Like every other state in the United States, driving under the influence is a crime in Oklahoma, and is subject to a great number of regulations. It is illegal to drive with a blood or breath alcohol content of 0.08% or more, or while under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating substance. For any person under 21 years of age, Oklahoma has a zero tolerance policy. The breath alcohol limit for such a person is 0.02%, and any measurable level of alcohol by a breathalyzer is an automatic DUI and driver's license revocation. This crime is punishable by a fine of up $1,000 US dollars and up to 1 year imprisonment after being evaluated by a person certified by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.[14]

Minors, adults under age 21, and alcohol in Oklahoma[edit]

It is a misdemeanor for persons under 21 years of age to give the impression that they are older for the purpose of obtaining alcoholic beverages.[3] Punishment for this crime is a fine of up to $300 and up to 30 days of community service. Furthermore, the driving license of the convicted individual will be revoked for 6 months for the first offense, 1 year for the second offense, and 2 years for all subsequent offenses, alternatively for any offense they can have their license revoked until they reach 21 years of age at the discretion of the judge. [15]

Landowners cannot lawfully permit a person under 21 years of age to consume alcohol on their property. Punishment for this crime is a fine between $2,500 and $5,000 and up to 5 years of imprisonment.[16]

If a minor is pulled over and charged by an officer to be in violation of any alcohol law, a copy of the violation will be mailed to the legal guardian(s) of the child within three days.[17]

References[edit]

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