Oklahoma lawmakers want to really crack down on drunk driving. In fact, they are so serious about that subject that they are mulling a new law which would send you to jail if you purchase any alcohol during your probationary period after being convicted of a DWI.
An Oklahoma state lawmaker is proposing legislation that would make it more difficult for drivers facing DUI charges to buy alcohol, reports KOKH-TV.
Senator Patrick Anderson’s bill asks the state to develop a system that would block people arrested for drunk driving from purchasing alcohol during a time period to be determined by a judge.
Under the proposed law, those convicted of DUI would be given a replacement identification that would carry the words “Alcohol Restricted” on the front. The person would be required to carry the new ID throughout a probationary period.
My initial reaction to this story was one of skepticism. If you are an adult, purchasing and consuming alcohol is not illegal… you just can’t drive while doing it. (Or in many states, walk on the public square.) As long as you’re not driving, they shouldn’t be able to stop you. But on further consideration, we already have quite a few circumstances where such a ban can be in place. Abstaining from alcohol is often a requirement of probation for violent criminals who are released. (They can also be banned from going to bars or hanging out with other individuals of ill repute.)
Some states already do something like this. Oklahoma has a program called the 24/7 Sobriety Project.
This is more than just a program but a commitment to working with chronic DWI defenders into changing their behavior and prevention of additional DWI arrests.
The program has one main goal for each DWI defendant and that is sobriety 24 hours per day and 7 days per week. This started as a pilot program in January 2005. We currently work with 67 participating agencies, including police departments, sheriff’s offices, and the Unified Judicial System.
Is the purpose of the legal system in this case to get you to stop driving while intoxicated or to cure you of alcoholism? The former is clearly in the people’s interest. The latter sounds a bit outside the wheelhouse of proper governmental power. You are responsible for your own actions and will be held accountable for them when you run afoul of the law. But it’s not the government’s job to clean up your act if you’re drinking too much. But does that mean that the state can’t do this if the legislature votes it into law? Apparently they can.