The Erin Swezey Act was signed into law in Oklahoma in 2011 to help curtail drunk driving by those who are above the aggravated charge level of 0.15% BAC or if they are a repeat offender under the standard 0.08% BAC impairment level. The higher limit applies even to first DUI convictions. The Swezey Act requires the installation of an ignition interlock device for convicted drunk drivers who fall into either category. The legislation was introduced at the request of Erin Swezey’s parents after she died in a car accident caused by a drunk driver who was well beyond the established BAC level of impairment for assumed intoxication under Oklahoma law.
How the law applies to convicted drunk drivers
Any driver in Oklahoma who is convicted of a DUI for a second or greater offense will be required to have an IID installed in their vehicle for a period of four years. First offense convictions under the Swezey Act last a period of 18 months. The only level of impairment needed is the standard 0.08% BAC for conviction of multiple offenders. While this does not apply to those who have a first DUI conviction with a BAC between 0.08% and 0.149%, installation is automatically required upon conviction when aggravated charges for a BAC level of 0.15% are filed by the court.
How the IID works
The ignition interlock device is essentially a breathalyzer installed between the key and the engine that only allows the vehicle to start following a successful breathalyzer test. The driver must blow into the device each time before starting the engine. Even though the system can possibly be bypassed by another individual who has not been drinking, it still serves as an extra step to help ensure an overly intoxicated driver or an individual with a history of DUI convictions does not get behind the wheel.
While this law does not necessarily apply to those who are charged for DUI generated by driving while using drugs other than alcohol, all Oklahoma drivers should understand that any conviction for impairment can be a serious legal matter that they must contend with for several years to come.