As Oklahoma laws now read, a second and subsequent charge of driving under the influence results in a felony charge. As reality now exists, some drivers are repeatedly charged with DUIs and aren’t charged with a felony until they get into an accident and possibly hurt someone. While Mothers Against Drunk Driving has proven time after time that they don’t need much help getting legislation passed, a problem persists in enforcing these laws. Second and subsequent felony charges have a way of slipping through the cracks in larger cities where police departments file these charges through municipal courts— since felonies aren’t filed through municipal courts.
State Sen. Susan Paddack’s Senate Bill 2291 aims to stop this by creating a central registry at the Department of Public Safety. The bill has made it through the Senate and awaits its fate in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. If passed, DUI charges would go to the central registry where officials could keep track of them.
This bill is much-needed in Oklahoma, where driving under the influence charges remain a small inconvenience to some repeat-offenders. Under this law, these drivers would arguably be forced to pay attention to what they, personally, have to lose. At least they would get some time to think about their actions following their second DUI charge—accident or no. During this time, they’d also be off the road as an added bonus.
While the constantly-growing stack of laws surrounding DUI charges could probably use more editing than adding to, this bill simply provides oversight of already existing laws, allowing for more expeditious enforcement of these laws. This bill would be instrumental in ensuring the safety of Oklahoma residents on roadways and would be a helpful tool for the justice system to enforce laws that are already on the books.