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New law could prevent those with a DUI from buying alcohol

Oklahoma residents who are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol may no longer be able to drink if a proposed senate bill passes. Senate Bill 30 could result in a law that makes it illegal for those with a DUI to consume or purchase alcohol for an amount of time set by a judge.

Abstaining from alcohol is often a frequent requirement of probation after alcohol related offenses, but some worry this law would be hard to enforce. Those with DUI convictions may be required to carry a special identification card that says "Alcohol Restriction" on the front, but problems could still arise. For example, there might need to be a provision in the law for those that drink wine for religious reasons like as part of communion.

If the bill passes, it would also be illegal to give alcohol to a person with a DUI offense. Anyone caught buying alcohol for someone restricted from drinking could receive a felony charge, which might lead to a year in prison or a $1,000 fine. However, a prosecutor would need to prove that a person knowingly violated the law when giving or purchasing the alcohol.

While the bill may create challenges, it is attempting to address a large problem as one third of U.S. highway crashes involve alcohol. Someone convicted of a DUI in Oklahoma could already face fines up to $10,000, but this may not be a large enough deterrent because as many as 30,000 people die annually in drunk driving accidents. Drunk driving laws are intended to be harsh in order to prevent motorists from driving under the influence, but those who are charged with a DUI have options that may include a plea bargain or probation.

Source: FOX 25, "Proposed alcohol bill could add more restrictions to a DUI charge", Meredith Keller, Jan. 3, 2015

Source: FOX News, "Oklahoma bill would bar those with DUI conviction from buying alcohol," Jan. 5, 2015

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