Oklahoma Drunk Driving Law Declared Unconstitutional

The Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a new drunk driving law based on the fact that the law didn’t stick to one thing.

The 41-page law was ruled unconstitutional because it violated the single-subject rule. A majority of justices agreed.

Additionally, those justices specifically found the section of the law that allowed the seizure and destruction of a driver’s license without an administrative hearing unconstitutional. According to justices, that section violated a driver’s due process rights.

The 2017 Impaired Driving Elimination Act 2 aimed to chance how drunk driving suspects are handled.

Suggested changes included no longer allowing a DUI suspect to fight the loss of their license at an administrative hearing at the Department of Public Safety as well as making it illegal for a DUI suspect to refuse a breath test after being arrested.

Due to the estimated six million car accidents occurring on U.S. roads each year, the new law was supported, especially by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

On the other hand, four DUI attorneys challenged the law in June on behalf of their clients.

During the ruling, five out of the nine justices agreed that the law repeatedly violated the Oklahoma Constitution when it states that “every act of the Legislature‚Ķ shall embrace but one subject.”

It was explained that the rule exists in order to prevent legislators from being forced to make decisions on bills having unrelated content.

The majority noted, “The public is entitled to a clear picture of how their elected officials have voted on a particular issue, the public is entitled to be adequately notified of the potential effect of legislation, and these constitutionally protected public policies have been recognized since statehood.”

While the new DUI driving law was scheduled to go into effect Nov. 1, Justices halted enforcement of its provisions on Oct. 30 due to the legal challenge.

With a dissenting opinion, one justice was extremely critical of the decision. Justice Patrick Wyrick claimed that the Legislator no longer can tell from “amorphous” Supreme Court Ruling what the single subject rule entails.

Brian K. Morton, one of the challenging attorneys, claimed that the current system in place is working.

Based on the decision to rule this law unconstitutional, the administrative hearing process will continue.

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