Missouri legislature cracks down on DWI offenders.

Governor Nixon is expected to sign new legislation, HB 1694, which sharpens the teeth in Missouri’s DWI laws. The bill has multiple provisions:

  • Creates DWI court combining judicial supervision, drug testing, continuous alcohol monitoring, substance abuse traffic offender program compliance, and treatment of DWI court participants.
  • Minimum jail sentences are now mandated for first offenders whose blood alcohol content is above .15% unless they go through a DWI court. (minimum of 48 hours jail for being over .15% and 5 days jail for over .20%).
  • Minimum punishments for prior offenders are more than doubled unless the offender can attend DWI court. A serious question still remains about the availability of DWI courts because the bill provides no funding.
  • Search warrant procedures are simplified to allow everyday use of warrants to compel blood testing for suspected offenders.
  • The bill adds reporting requirements on all Missouri courts, but makes no provision for funding. The bill also singles out municipal judges for additional training, reporting and monitoring by the circuit court. There seems a resolve to make those local judges toe the line.
  • Two provisions were (deservedly) dropped from the legislation:

1)  One provision would have allowed police to take a blood sample from suspected drunk drivers and later apply for a warrant.

2)  The other dropped provision would have eliminated the section that currently allows a person with a single DWI offense to have the record expunged after ten years had passed.

Jefferson City Criminal attorney

One hopes that despite a complete lack of funding, the severity of the new law can be offset by incorporation of the DWI courts into the existing drug court structures.


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


Motorcycle Stunt Driving may soon be a crime in Missouri

Jefferson City Criminal Lawyer

Representative Jeff Roorda, A Democrat from the St. Louis area is back again with a bill to protect us from ourselves. His House Bill 1332 creates the crime of Motorcycle Stunt Driving.

Most new criminal laws are unnecessary and this one is especially so. But considering all the possible crimes we could commit, how cool would it be to have a conviction for Motorcycle Stunt Driving? To quote Will Smith’s character in the movie Independence Day: “I have got to get me one of these!”

To get one, you have to complete one or more of the following “dangerous stunts” while riding a motorcycle on a public road (presumably in front of a police officer):

  1. Standing on the seat, frame, or handlebars;
  2. Performing handstands on the seat, frame, or handlebars;
  3. Operating a motorcycle on one tire;
  4. Removing both hands from the handlebars

It’s kind of like taking your driver’s test, except there is no requirement that you do it very well.  (Keep in mind–however–it could be embarrassing to get a conviction for attempted Motorcycle Stunt Driving). Afterwards, you pay your fine and tell everyone you know that you have a conviction for motorcycle stunt driving.

You could become famous. There are web sites on how to break into the Hollywood Movie Stunt business.

If you’re really ambitious, move to Hollywood. When the movie producer wants to know your motorcycle stunt driving experience, you can whip out a certified copy and tell him, “Experience, hell, I’ve got a conviction.”

Even if you don’t want to get into the movies, a conviction for motorcycle stunt driving can only bolster your image. Everybody knows the ladies go for the bad boys. If you already have tattoos, then this is the next step. If you don’t have one, get your conviction record tattooed on your chest!


Come back with a warrant