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Proposed bill would make penalties for DUI even harsher

Any person who has been charged with and convicted of a drunk driving offense knows that the penalties of a DUI can be quite serious. That one mistake can have lengthy repercussions for a driver, from a suspended license to jail time. 

Recently, a bill was proposed in another state that would create even harsher restrictions and punishments for a driver convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. But is it going too far, and would it even be effective?

The legislation is being proposed in Oklahoma and would require drivers convicted of DUI to be issued a special ID in place of their regular identification card. The special ID would have the words "Alcohol Restricted" on it. Anyone with this card who is caught trying to buy alcohol would face criminal penalties, as would any party who knowingly provides alcohol to that person. 

The measure is quite controversial. On one hand, supporters argue that its intent is to keep convicted drunk drivers from repeating the offense. On the other hand, it restricts an activity -- consuming alcohol -- which is completely legal for people over the age of 21. Further, enforcement would be extremely difficult. For example, what if a person with a restricted ID wants to purchase alcohol for cooking or for a housewarming gift without the intention of consuming it?

There have been several measures proposed in states across the U.S. in the past that attempt to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road; some have been passed and adopted by other states, others have been denied. Some may be effective while others do little more than complicate legal matters for everyone involved and drain resources. 

Whether this particular bill will pass -- and what, if any, impact it could have on drivers in states like Arizona -- remains to be seen. 

Source: CBS Houston, "Oklahoma Bill Would Ban Alcohol Purchases For Drivers Convicted Of DUI," Jan. 5, 2015

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