Driving drunk could land you in jail, but the state will offer a helping hand in a bill moving on to Governor Nixon.
The House completed the process by approving SS/SCS/HCS/HB 1695, 1742, 1674 unanimously 152-0. The bill goes to Governor Nixon, who has already praised its passage in a written statement.
“Missouri’s roadways will be safer as a result of this bill. It will help us stop those who, despite multiple convictions, have continued to drive while drunk, posing a great danger to innocent lives and themselves. Much like the law that lowered the legal limit from .10 to .08, this marks a turning point in getting drunk drivers off the road.”
The bill stiffens drunken driving penalties, but doesn’t make them that stiff, according to Rep. Jeff Roorda (D-Barnhart).
“Well, gentlemen this is a little bittersweet,” Barnhart tells sponsor Rep. Bryan Stevenson (R-Joplin) during House floor debate. “If mixed drinks were as watered down as this bill, we would have a lot less drunks on the street, wouldn’t we?”
Blow a .15 into a breathalyzer; serve at least two days in jail. Blow .20 and be prepared for a five-day stay, unless you agree to participate in a DWI court program. It authorizes DWI courts to operate with drug courts. Drug court commissioners would be allowed to preside over DWI courts. Repeat offenders would not be allowed to go through municipal courts. No suspended imposition of sentences will be allowed for anybody with a Blood Alcohol Content higher than .15.
Rep. Rachel Bringer (D-Hannibal) reflects on a rough ride through the legislature with sponsor Stevenson.
“It was quite an adventure, the entire process, from beginning to end,” Bringer tells Stevenson.
The House had approved a stronger version, but the bill got watered down in the Senate.