Oklahoma is cracking down on DUI offenders. Under current (but soon to be obsolete) law, some drivers are able to rack up multiple DUI arrests in various cities and municipalities across the state without facing felony charges because their cases are handled in municipal courts that are not courts of record. Other, less fortunate drivers have their cases handled in district courts of record and face felony charges for their second DUI offense because Oklahoma Law provides that a second DUI offense within 10 years of the first constitutes a felony. The only municipal courts in Oklahoma that are courts of record are the municipal courts of Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
In order to ensure that all Oklahoma drivers face the same penalty for multiple offenses, the new law, known as the Impaired Driving Elimination Act (IDEA), dictates that all DUI prosecutions will occur in courts of record. Any defendant that is arrested for DUI in a municipality without a court of record will have his case handled in the district court in the county where the municipality is located. The new law also establishes a new statewide database to track DUI offenses. Simply stated, all DUI offenses will be much more visible to the State, and repeat offenders will be vulnerable to being charged with a felony.. Last April, Governor Fallin signed the act into law, and the changes will take effect on November 1, 2016.
Now more than ever, drivers arrested for DUI will need diligent and zealous legal representation.