Friday, August 20, 2010

DUI laws get tougher amid enforcement crack down Aug. 20 - Sept. 6

Kansas City Police are joining law enforcement agencies around the state and nation for a crack down on drunk driving Aug. 20 through Sept. 6, but state law is going to change right in the middle of this enforcement effort that will make drunk driving more costly than ever before.

On August 28, Missouri’s new Driving While Intoxicated legislation takes effect. This law does several things, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) Division of Highway Safety. It will:

• Increase jail time for repeat DWI offenders and those with higher blood alcohol levels (0.15 percent or more – a fifth of those arrested for DWI in Kansas City in the first six months of 2010 fell into this category)

• Move more cases from municipal courts to state courts, where penalties can be tougher

• Mandate better record-keeping for DWI cases so that repeat offenders can be properly tracked; and

• Offer offenders opportunities to participate in a DWI court program that incorporates treatment and close monitoring instead of going to jail.

So if you’re caught driving intoxicated, you’ll be more likely to face charges in state court and more likely to go to jail, especially if it’s a repeat offense and/or your blood alcohol level is above 0.15 percent.

Beginning today, Kansas City Police will be conducting saturation patrols (wolf packs), sobriety checkpoints and taking other initiatives to really crack down on intoxicated drivers. Law enforcement agencies nationwide will be doing the same. This special enforcement effort lasts until Sept. 6, but police are always on the look-out for impaired drivers who can harm others or themselves. With this new law, it could cost you more than ever before, so please designate a sober driver.