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IDEA Just Made DUI Charges Even More Serious

In the wake of being called out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as one of the worst states in terms of drunk driving problems, Oklahoma is taking action. The Impaired Driving Elimination Act (IDEA) took effect on the first of this month and is intended to keep drunk drivers off the road.

What Will IDEA Do?

According to an article in the Tulsa Beacon, State Rep. Mike Sanders co-authored this bill after his wife was hit by a drunk driver. Sanders discovered that the driver had been arrested for DUI five times in a five-month period and was still on the road.

There are over 300 municipal courts throughout Oklahoma that are not courts of record. These courts handle many DUI cases. This has led to many repeat DUI offenders being treated like first offenders, meaning they got off with minimal penalties.

The goal of IDEA is to move all DUI cases into courts of record so that courts will take notice of repeat offenders and penalize them appropriately, which includes substantial periods of driver's license suspension when appropriate.

What Does This Mean For People Accused Of Drunk Driving?

IDEA will have the biggest impact on repeat offenders. If you have been arrested for DUI again, be aware that your previous convictions will not slip through the cracks, even if they did before. You will likely face heightened penalties as a repeat offender, making it all the more important that you have an experienced DUI defense attorney on your side who understands the law and can fight to protect your driving privileges.

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