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New bill in Oklahoma may result in more drunk driving arrests

There is no question that impaired driving is a problem in Oklahoma and beyond. The number of accidents and injuries that result from drunk driving seems to continue to rise despite awareness campaigns and stricter laws. However, a new bill recently introduced in the state Senate has many wondering if lawmakers are going too far.

Senate Bill 643 proposes to make it a crime for a driver to refuse to take a breath test if pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving. Currently, a driver may refuse to take the test and face only the suspension of driving privileges. If the bill passes, drivers who refuse the test will be charged with a misdemeanor and be sentenced to10 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 if convicted.

Police feel this is a great tool to help them gather the evidence they need to determine if a driver is impaired. However, opponents of this law say it assumes guilt before a driver is proven guilty. Whether one takes the test or refuses the test, the driver may be in trouble. In essence, drivers may be forced to provide evidence needed for their own arrest and conviction.

Drivers in Oklahoma certainly do not want more innocent people to die on the roads at the hands of drunk drivers. Nevertheless, if this bill passes, more people may be compelled to submit to breath tests, which may result in more arrests. To protect themselves from the negative consequences of a drunk driving conviction, those facing DUI charges have the right to legal representation as soon as possible after their arrest.

Source: 5newsonline.com, "Proposed Oklahoma Legislation Would Criminalize Refusing Breath Test", Laura Simon, Accessed on May 1, 2017

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