Lawmaker proposes bill to protect date rape victims charged with DUI

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma lawmaker says he wants to protect victims of date rape with a new law.

If passed, someone who was forcefully intoxicated and gets charged with a DUI could get a new hearing to possibly get the charge dismissed.

Under the law right now, someone can bring an involuntary intoxication defense at a jury trial, but the author of the bill wants to speed up the process.

Representative John Paul Jordan wants to add an extra hearing to DUI cases when the defendants claim to be “forcefully intoxicated.”

He says what happened to a friend inspired him to file the bill.

“She went out one night, was given a roofie. She remembers having one drink, and then the next thing she can remember in a foggy haze was getting pulled over.

And she remembers waking up in a jail cell,” Rep. John Paul Jordan said.

He says she went to the doctor the next day.

“There was quite a bit of bruising on her body, so basically all signs indicated something happened,” Jordan said.

Prosecutors eventually charged her with DUI.

Rep. Jordan wants people who might find themselves in a similar situation to be able to request a special hearing after the arrest, to bring up a defense of involuntary intoxication.

“The victim would have 30 days past the arraignment to request it, then 30 days past that request is when it would be presented in front of the judge,” Rep. Jordan said.

It’s a defense we have on the books right now, but the law leaves it up to a jury to decide at trial.

Rep. Jordan doesn’t want those accused to have to wait that long.

“Absolutely it’s better for the prosecutor,” defense attorney David McKenzie said.

Defense attorneys we talked to call the bill unfair because it would shift the burden to the person accused.

“Having the defendant jumping through so many hoops so early in the procedure is a hindrance to the development of a defense,” McKenzie said.

Opponents say the varying way arraignments are done from county to county could cause more challenges to the way this proposed law would be implemented.