Oklahoma: create a third type of Municipal Court to hear only DUI cases

When the Oklahoma Constitution’s Judiciary Article (Art. VII) was rewritten in 1967, it kept and retained the state’s Municipal Courts, limiting them to criminal and traffic proceedings. Currently there are two types of court: Municipal Courts Not of Record (11 Okl. St. § 27-101) and Municipal Courts of Record for cities with a population over 65,000 (11 Okl. St. § 28-101). A bill introduced last week would create a third such type of court to hear just DUI cases.

Under SB 58 as introduced municipalities, regardless of population size, would be able to create a separate Limited Municipal Criminal Court of Record for the sole purpose of adjudicating violations of ordinances prohibiting driving operating or being in the actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances. Judges would be appointed by the local government and could serve on two courts at once (the existing Municipal Court Not of Record and this new court).

SB 58 is currently pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.