Oklahoma Considers Bill to Prohibit Drunk Drivers from Drinking
If a proposal in Oklahoma becomes law, it could make that state the strictest in the U.S. when it comes to drunk driving, as Amanda Gutterman writes for Huff Post Politics. Senate Bill 30, proposed by Oklahoma state Sen. Patrick Anderson, would make it illegal for convicted drunk drivers to buy or otherwise drink alcoholic beverages, keten.com reports. In most states, the typical punishment for first-time DUI offenders is a fine and the suspension or revocation of that person’s license, Gutterman notes.
Anderson’s bill would place an alcohol restriction stamp on the driver’s licenses of those convicted of drunk driving, kten.com writes, and would make it a felony for anyone to provide alcoholic beverages to such people. Anderson said he was inspired by a similar bill that passed in Alaska, kten.com writes. Senate Bill 30 says that “Individuals who ‘knowingly sell, deliver or furnish alcoholic beverages to a person who has been ordered to abstain’ could face a fine of up to $1,000 or one year in prison,” Gutterman reports.
Gutterman writes that it would be a hard law to enforce:
The bill says it would be illegal to ‘knowingly’ sell or give alcohol to someone who’s been ordered to abstain, but it would be difficult to prove or disprove that knowledge in many cases — for example, if someone gives a friend a glass of wine at a party. It’s also not clear what would happen if someone is served food with alcohol in it, or if they’re given a drink that contains alcohol unbeknownst to them — a glass of spiked punch, for example. The current form of the bill doesn’t address these questions.
Oklahoma passed a law last year that gives prosecutors the authority to confiscate the vehicle of anyone charged with drunk driving when the case is in court, Gutterman writes. And in 2013, a law was proposed in New Mexico to make it temporarily illegal for anyone convicted of driving while drunk to drink alcohol, but that proposal was not adopted, Gutterman writes.
Anderson said the reason he is asking for a felony is to “drive home the point” that drunk driving is a serious offense, and that this bill would help to fight alcoholism and drunk driving in Oklahoma, Kten.com writes. Foxnews.com quotes defense attorney Richard Roth as saying the bill is a needed deterrent “to stop repeat offenders from drunk driving.”
A commenter to the Foxnews.com article named jpaulg writes:
Finally a law that makes sense. Stop the murderous drunk drivers from buying alcohol. Make it a crime to buy them alcohol. Make it a crime to knowingly serve them alcohol. Will that stop them? Of course not but it might slow them down and puts their enablers on notice and makes a price to pay. The carnage on the roads is sickening and the number of re offenders is so glaring. In some European countries, (believe me I’m no lefty Europe lover) you can lose your license permanently for drunk driving and they have strong enforcement. We could learn from that example at least.
The 45-year-old Anderson, a lawyer and farmer, is a Republican from Enid, according to oksenate.gov. He was elected in 2004, and reelected in 2008 and 2012 because no one ran against him, according to Ballotpedia.org.