If an error in Missouri’s DUI and DWI laws isn’t fixed, thousands of drunk drivers could go free. Governor Jay Nixon (D) is not commenting about whether he’ll call a special session next to the legislature’s September veto session to fix the typo, which involves the calibration of breathalyzer equipment. The General Assembly’s regular session ended this year without lawmakers fixing the loophole.
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd says the law must be changed to require that breathalyzers are calibrated using one level, instead of three.
“I think it’s really important to get it fixed and fixed immediately because these cases are getting adjudicated every single day,” says Zahnd. “Until the legislature acts, they’re adjudicated without this evidence, which means many of those cases are probably ending up in not guilty verdicts, perhaps being dismissed because sometimes this is the only evidence that a prosecutor may have.”
A Supreme Court decision included instruction on how the legislature should reverse the error, which involves offenses during a 15-month period.
“This loophole will mean that many people will not be convicted of drunk driving crimes, some of them even more serious, including manslaughter,” says Zahnd.
The legislature’s veto session begins September 14.