Crash Victim’s Daughter Fighting For Tougher DUI Laws For Repeat Offenders

Berry said every member of her family has dealt with her mother’s death differently. It was particularly hard for her younger siblings who were now orphaned by DUI. As children, their father had died in a DUI crash where he was the impaired driver. Now they had also lost their mother.

Berry has channeled much of her personal grief into activism. In addition to speaking to victim impact panels, Berry also works to tighten Oklahoma’s DUI laws.

She is a supporter of a measure spearheaded by State Rep. Mike Sanders. He began taking a closer look at DUIs and “courts of record” after his wife was struck by a motorist who had been arrested several times for driving under the influence. There are 354 municipal courts in the state that aren't “courts of record.” There are 77 district courts of record, and two municipal courts of record in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Berry explained that Sanders learned in many cases DUIs aren't easily shared among Oklahoma's various municipal courts, and, thus, prosecutors don't know if a driver might be a repeat offender. The measure recommends sending all DUI arrests to district court, or to create municipal courts of record solely for DUI cases.

Berry said a bill she helped write with State Rep. John Enns calling for stricter punishments for underage drivers convicted of DUI did not make it out of the House last session, but she hopes the bill will be revised and pass in the future.

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