Drew Edmondson, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Oklahoma, said at a campaign event Monday that multiple DUIs shouldn't make individuals eligible for jail.
Edmondson attended a breakfast event as part of his "Turn this Train Around" tour where he addressed concerns about people facing jail time for certain crimes. He mentioned possession of marijuana, shoplifting, and writing bad checks, but then he went further to suggest that "maybe even DUI[s]" shouldn't be jail-eligible.
"Personally, I think we need to look at other crimes like simple possession of marijuana. Things like shoplifting, bogus checks, maybe even DUI, and say–I don’t know if I can get the legislature to do it or if this will have to go on the ballot too–but say this is against the law, you’re going to be punished, but this crime is no longer prison-eligible even if you do two or three times," Edmondson said.
Edmondson, a former district attorney that personally prosecuted a range of cases including DUIs, previously served as Oklahoma's attorney general from 1995 to 2011.
In Oklahoma you are over the legal limit if you are "21 years old or over with a BAC of 0.08% or more," according Oklahoma's DMV website. The website also details the penalties for multiple DUI offenses. The first offense is a misdemeanor, but the subsequent offenses are considered felonies and include jail time and fines. The first offense requires jail time of 10 days to a year sentence and a fine up to $1,000. The second offense in ten years requires jail time between 1 and 5 years and a fine up to $2,500. If an individual receives a second felony charge, they are required to serve 1 to 7 years and fine up to $5,000. All subsequent offenses include a jail sentence of 1 to 10 years and a fine up to $5,000.
The Republican Governors Association criticized Edmondson for his "dangerous" proposal, saying that it would "make Oklahoma less safe."
"Democrat Drew Edmondson’s bizarre plan to make multiple DUI convictions ineligible for prison time is dangerous and would make Oklahoma less safe," said RGA spokesman David Weinman. "Edmondson is too out-of-touch to serve as governor."
Edmondson, who ran an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign in 2010, is facing off against Republican candidate and businessman Kevin Stitt next month. Incumbent Gov. Mary Fallin (R., Okla.) cannot run for a third consecutive term due to term limits.