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New DUI law designed to keep drunk drivers off Oklahoma roads

DUI checkpoint (KTUL)

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KTUL) -- Among the more than 200 new laws going into effect in Oklahoma, one is designed to help keep drunk drivers off the road.

Beginning Nov. 1, House Bill 3146 moves all DUI cases from municipal non-courts of record to a court of record. The law now allows any municipality with a population of at least 60,000 to have the option to create a court of record. The arresting municipalities will still receive a portion of the fines.

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There are currently 354 municipal courts in Oklahoma. These handle a large volume of the DUI arrests. As of right now, only Oklahoma City and Tulsa are municipal courts of record. This allows drivers with multiple DUI arrests to, in most cases, be treated as a first-time offender, receiving a minimal punishment, giving offenders potential to re-offend.

“This law is ultimately about protecting the lives of Oklahoma motorists,” said state Rep. Mike Sanders. “I’m excited to see where this takes us in being able to reduce drunk driving in our state in the coming years. The number of drunk-driving offenses is a black eye on our state. This law is about public safety; it gives an important new tool to prosecutors to be able to better flag and appropriately prosecute repeat drunk drivers, and that will save lives.”

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According to Sanders, the new law ensures repeat drunk drivers are properly prosecuted and removed from the roads of Oklahoma. Each offender is added into a database so that all DUIs are recorded. This allows district attorneys to develop assessments and treatment plans for offenders.

In 2010, Oklahoma ranked as the 46th worst state for impaired driving deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For more information on this new state law, you can visit Sanders' video blog.

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