A new law will go into effect this year that closes a loophole a state lawmaker exploited to avoid a drunken driving conviction.
A law approved in 1982 required the use of a non-alcoholic antiseptic swab before blood could be drawn to determine a suspect’s blood alcohol content. Prosecutors dismissed a drunk driving charge against Representative Charles Portwood (R-Ballwin) in 2006, because a hospital nurse used the wrong kind of swab during the blood test after an accident in Manchester in 2004. Portwood’s blood test indicated his blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit, but Portwood argued that the alcohol on the swab distorted the results. Portwood settled his case by pleading guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident, a misdemeanor.
Governor Blunt has signed the bill into law saying numerous studies have shown that alcohol wipes have no impact on blood samples. The State Highway Patrol and the Missouri Prosecuting Attorneys Association pushed for the change.