New Oklahoma law makes providing alcohol to minors a felony, 5 years in prison, $2,500 fine
On July 1, 2006 a new law went into effect that drastically increases the penalties for persons who knowingly provide alcohol or other controlled substances to a persons under twenty-one (21) years of age. This new law now codified by Oklahoma in Title 37 O.S. section 8.2 will make persons violating its provisions felons and will permanently forfeit certain constitutional rights such as the right to possess firearms and could even create a permanent block to legal residency or U.S. citizenship if committed by foreign nationals living in the state.
Prior to the passage of this law those who provided alcohol to minors, if prosecuted, were subjected to misdemeanor charges such as “Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.” These prosecutions normally resulted in some fines and periodically some time in the county jail.
With the new law's passage the Oklahoma Legislature expressed the people's will that such behavior deserves much more serious attention by the law enforcement community and the courts. It left little doubt that those who provide alcohol or other controlled substances to minors should be soundly condemned and punished. Violators of the law's provisions will be prosecuted as felons and fined two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) while also facing imprisonment in the state penitentiary for up to five (5) years.
The act's stiff felony penalties are intended to discourage the willful and knowing provision of alcohol or controlled substances to persons under 21 years of age. Its provisions also forbid providing a place, whether rented or owned, for such persons to possess or consume these substances. This law places the burden for underage alcohol use where it should be—with the adults who provide both opportunity and places for its consumption.
Boise City News