Oklahoma lawmaker working to put harsher restrictions on DUI offenders

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OKLAHOMA CITY - If a proposed law is passed, Oklahomans convicted of a DUI may have a hard time getting their hands on alcohol in the future.

Sen. Patrick Anderson authored Senate Bill 30, which would allow a judge to decide if those convicted of driving under the influence could drink alcohol again.

Following a DUI conviction, a judge would be able to decide whether or not to stamp the person's license with an alcohol restriction.

That restriction would prevent the license holder from buying or even consuming alcohol.

According to the bill, a judge could "order the person to abstain or refrain from consuming alcohol for such period as the court shall determine and to require that a notation of this restriction be affixed to the person's driver's license at the time of reinstatement of the license....The restriction shall remain on the driver license for such period as the court shall determine. The restriction may be modified or removed by order of the court and notice of the order shall be given to the Department. Upon the expiration of the period for the restriction, the Department shall remove the restriction without further court order."

Charles Sifers, a DUI attorney, says leaders shaming offenders to prevent repeat crimes is nothing new.

"I understand the whole concept of the scarlet letter, which is what this is; no different than pilgrim times," Sifers said.

If the offender is caught trying to buy alcohol, they would have to go back to court for a violation of his or her probation.

If alcohol is sold, delivered or given to a person with the restriction, the supplier could face felony charges.

"A felony!" Sifers said.

"The reason I asked for a felony is because I want to drive home the point that it is very important, and this is a key factor in fighting alcoholism and drunk driving in our state," Anderson said.

Anderson says he came up with the idea after learning about a similar law in Alaska.

The Oklahoma State Senate will begin discussing the proposed legislation in February.

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