It took a bit of effort to pass it, but Oklahoma now has a brand new drunk driving law. A Senate Bill that toughens up penalties for Oklahoma drunk drivers has been signed, sealed, and delivered into law by Governor Mary Fallin.
The new law gives Oklahoma drunk drivers a few options when they are stopped and charged with drunk driving. Option one allows them to immediately install an ignition interlock in their vehicles and attend a diversionary program. A diversionary program in Oklahoma may involve the offender performing community service or completing a DUI class.
Option two for Oklahoma drunk drivers is the wait and see approach. That means the offender can wait for their criminal case to go to court, and at that time they will see if their driver’s license suspension is upheld or dismissed. Under the new law Oklahoma drunk drivers will also be in hot water if they decline to submit to a breathalyzer, because it is now illegal to refuse.
Although organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are supportive of the new laws because it allows an offender to immediately install and drive with an ignition interlock, not everyone is on board.
DUI attorneys in the state are believe that the new law violates the rights of Oklahoma drunk drivers. They believe that a citizen needs to be allowed their due process rights and if they are required to immediately install an ignition interlock, that will presume guilt. They’ve vowed to challenge the new laws in court.
But what they don’t mention is that most Oklahoma drunk drivers are convicted after a drunk driving arrest, and an immediate ignition interlock lets that person get on with his or her life. If they’d like to take a chance and not drive until their hearing, everything in life that requires driving is put on hold. You can’t drive the kids to school or drive to their job, and they might end up with an ignition interlock in their car anyway if the judge requires one.
If that’s the case, why would any Oklahoma drunk driver choose anything other an ignition interlock?
The Friday Fallout: Every Friday Guardian Interlock will bring you a unique drunk driving case that demonstrates the impact, or fallout, of drunk driving.