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The Senate unanimously passed legislation Wednesday to change how first-time Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offenses are handled in Oklahoma. Sen. Kim David is the author of Senate Bill 643, also known as the Impaired Driver Elimination Act 2 (IDEA2), which is strongly supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The legislation would create the Impaired Driver Accountability Program (IDAP) within the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
“This program will allow the state to recognize and help first time DUI offenders in the hopes that they won’t make the same mistake twice. A majority of these first time offenders simply weren’t thinking and used bad judgment,” said David, R-Porter. “We’re all human and make mistakes but it’s whether we learn from them the first time that matters. We need to separate these individuals from those who have an addiction and are much more likely to re-offend.”
Only first-time DUI offenders would be eligible to enter the program. Participants could have their license revocation reduced from one year to six months. If they successfully complete the program, their driving record will reflect that as well as no revocation, which will prevent higher insurance rates and will make seeking employment easier. Participants will also not be charged any reinstatement fees.
Those wishing to enter IDAP would have ten days from the date of their arrest to submit their application form. They would also have to have an ADSAC or DUI assessment reflecting a treatment category of I or II within 45 days as well as provide proof of installation of an interlock device. Participants would also be required to not receive any verified ignition violations during their last 60 days in the program.
“The program is designed to get ignition interlocks devices in all offenders’ vehicles if they want to continue to drive. If a person is eligible to go into the IDEA2 program and that person completes the requirements without re-offending then their license is not revoked,” explained David. “The program is much more severe on repeat offenders. The final intention is to identify those who need treatment for their addiction and get them off our roads.”
Anyone who refuses to go into the program will be required to have a modified license and an interlock device on their vehicle for one year (rather than the current 180 days) before they can reinstate their license. The revocation will go on their record.
SB 643 makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to operate a non-interlock vehicle for a drunk driver who is in the IDAP program or has an interlock restricted license. It would also make refusing a breath test following a suspected drunk driving arrest a misdemeanor punishable with up to ten days in jail or a $1,000 fine.
The bill, which was requested by the Governor’s Impaired Driving Prevention Advisory Council, now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration.