New Missouri DWI law would be harshest ever.

Jefferson City Criminal LawyerThe rage of DWI-related pressure groups is being vented through a proposed Missouri law sponsored by Joplin area state Rep. Brian Stevenson. Stevenson really takes off the gloves with this legislation–HB 1695–and removes any pretense that the “punishment should fit the crime.” HB 1695 creates new crimes such as: first offense driving over a .15% blood alcohol level or refusing to take a breath test.

MIssouri DWI lawInstead of offering treatment options that are given to drug offenders, the new law piles on more restrictions to keep offenders from driving at all.

Even if the offender never drinks and drives again, the license revocations are so lengthy, many drivers must choose between obeying the law and losing their jobs. Eventually they end up in jail or prison–not because they hurt or even endangered others–but because they disobeyed their government to make a living.

It’s not all bad. Some provisions of the law make it more likely that convictions are reported fairly and reliably throughout the state. One is that it forces all municipal judges to take remedial training in Missouri’s DWI laws.

One very sad provision of the new law eliminates what many consider a reasonable and merciful provision of our current law. It’s the one that permits a person who gets a first and ONLY DWI conviction to have their record expunged by the court if they go ten full years without any new alcohol-related contact or conviction.

This is a provision that ought to be extended to many misdemeanor crimes: make one small mistake and if you behave for ten years, we’ll forgive and forget. Instead, we are going the other way.

Perhaps our legislature will see this bill as overreaching and fundamentally unfair. We all know friends or family members who have had an alcohol offense. We know most of them are not repeat offenders and are good neighbors–not the sort that make good political cannon fodder.

If politicians want to grandstand, there are easier targets. For example, sex offenders. The public seems not to mind what we do to them, even after they have paid for their crimes. Certainly there are many more stupid demands they might make of sex offenders, things even more ridiculous than having to hide inside their homes on Halloween.

See New law makes sex offenders hunker down for Halloween

Come back with a warrant

4 thoughts on “New Missouri DWI law would be harshest ever.

  1. FTO256 says:

    Let’s get serious people. Drug rehab does not work the largest percent of the time. Look at Lohan, Sheen and many others. I for one would think it a slap in the face if a drunk-driver struck and killed my children and find out he/she went to drug rehab for a prior offense. Drunk driving (even drugged driving) is a plague that needs to have stiffer penalties. I am a police officer and have pulled bodies out of vehicles because a drugged driver struck the vehicle they were in. It’s not a fun thing to do.

    About getting it expunged if you have been good for 10 years. Let’s say John Doe got a DWI in 1998 and it was expunged after 10 years. In 2009 John Doe drives drunk/impaired and kills a family of 4….should he have gotten the opportunity to get his first one expunged? I hope you would say “NO”!

    DWI Defense is a money maker for defense attorneys. Why? Drugged/Drunk driving is one of the most committed crimes in the U.S. Open a phone book and look at all the Attorney’s ads. I bet you would see numerous ads for DWI Defense. This should show us how often DWI’s occur and that’s not counting the ones that did not get caught.

    This is reality! DWI crashes are reality and if you have never been affected by a DWI crash then count yourself lucky.


  2. […] patrols came after St. Charles County received federal grant money to carry out the patrols.  The grant money comes on the heels of a new DWI law and in conjunction with the increased St. Charles traffic this holiday season.  This DWI […]

  3. TruthOverAuthority says:

    Driving under the influence is a serious and dangerous problem. I agree with that. However, I cannot agree with everything that is being said. I think the punishment must fit the crime. Firing a weapon in a public area is illegal, but the punishment is not the same as if that bullet hit someone and it not the same as if that person died as a result. The same principal should be applied. First offense with no harm to person or property should be less of a penalty and purged from the persons record after 10 years of good behavior. On top of that, you cannot look at rehab as a bad thing, sure celebrities may not use it correctly, but they are a minority in comparison to the everyday public. Also, imprisonment is 7 times more expensive than rehab, and those imprisoned are more likely to be unable to contribute to the good of the whole later in life. They often become more of a hardened criminal when they are released than that of a person who went through rehab. This goes for both drug and alcohol. To truly do justice to the whole we must stop taking small actions against the people who do the acts and look deeper into the underlying reasons that can be treated. A drunk driver is going to drive drunk, so instead of waiting for it to happen and punish the individual to the fullest and abdominal extent of the law, lets help identify and cure this sickness that plagues the whole world, be it OTC or illicit drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, just like in medicine, it is more profitable to treat the symptoms, than cure the disease.

  4. fedupinmo says:

    I for 1 find DWI laws deplorable. They are a blatnant infringment or constitutional rights and our rapidly depleting so called freedom. 1st point is the vast vast majority of these arrests are conducted for not hurting anyone but the presumption you “might”. The number of people who would have made their intended destination with no misfortune is nothing short of astronomical. I hate to use tit for tat but if were going to prosecute people on the what iff theory then I suggest all gun owners hhave to have it stated on their drivers license that they own a weapon and on those grounds when stoppep for a simple traffic stop i.e. a tail light out they be prosecuted for the offence of owning the weapon. Afterall owning said weapon certainly opens the possibility you may hurt or kill someone with said weapon. Yes this law should include all law enforcement after all its not that you have hurt anyone but there is the chance. Time to take back our freedom. And for the record im a tow operator with no dwi record…

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