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Bill adds penalties for drunk driving and those who serve alcohol

Oklahoma lawmakers continue to seek ways to reduce the number of injuries and deaths on the road. More specifically, they are working to draft legislation for harsher penalties for drunk driving offenses. One such bill that passed through the Oklahoma House of Representatives and is now on the docket in the Senate extends its penalties well beyond the driver of the vehicle. The bill is named for two women who died in drunk driving accidents.

If the bill passes into law, anyone over the age of 21 who is convicted of driving while intoxicated may be ordered to abstain from alcohol for a certain period of time. At that point, the court will confiscate the person's driver's license and replace it with one that is stamped with an alert that the driver is alcohol restricted. Not only does this stamp notify police that the driver is restricted, but it also notifies anyone selling or serving alcohol who asks to see the person's ID.

Anyone who knowingly sells or serves alcohol to someone with a restricted license risks a felony charge. Such a charge may result in fines or imprisonment. If drivers under the age of 21 are convicted of DUI, the new law calls for their licenses to be revoked and for ignition interlocks to be installed on their cars until they turn 21.

While the deaths of the two Oklahoma women honored by the naming of this bill were certainly tragic, the scope of the bill places many rights in the balance. Those arrested for drunk driving – or for serving alcohol to restricted drivers -- would do well to seek legal counsel in the face of the expanding penalties lawmakers continue to introduce. An attorney will work to protect the rights of the accused and to minimize any negative outcomes.

Source: kfor.com, "House passes measure that would order person convicted of DUI to abstain from alcohol for period of time", Dallas Franklin, Accessed on April 14, 2017

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