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Norman Council Considers Jail Time for Public Drinking

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A new ordinance is being proposed that would add jail time as a punishment for public intoxication. Judges said they wanted an additional tool and added flexibility in sentencing repeat offenders. A new ordinance is being proposed that would add jail time as a punishment for public intoxication. Judges said they wanted an additional tool and added flexibility in sentencing repeat offenders.
Many are worried the proposed ordinance was targeted to game day in Norman where alcohol consumption happens frequently. Many are worried the proposed ordinance was targeted to game day in Norman where alcohol consumption happens frequently.

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

NORMAN, Oklahoma -- Being intoxicated in public could start costing a lot more in Norman if city leaders pass an ordinance Tuesday.

Currently, those arrested for public intoxication are fined between $50 and $500. If passed, a new ordinance would add up to ten days in jail to the fine.

"Municipal court clerks and judges came to us with this idea. The judges just wanted an additional tool and some added flexibility when sentencing these individuals," said Norman Assistant City Attorney Rebecca Frazier. 

Initial concerns on the proposed ordinance were worries about being targeted on game day in Norman where alcohol consumption happens frequently. 

"This ordinance is not meant to target OU students and it’s not meant to target individuals on game day. This is to address our chronic repeat offenders. For example, we have individuals who end up having 12 public intoxications a year or 70 within a span of 3 to 4 years," Frazier said.

People who are not repeat offenders will be subjected to the current fines, but no jail time.

Ninety percent of the public intoxication cases in Norman are for first time offenders. Frazier said this new ordinance would focus on the remaining 10 percent.

The issue will go before Norman’s city council on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall. A decision will come after a public hearing. Anyone with questions is encouraged to attend. If passed, the ordinance would go into effect in 30 days.

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