St. Louis Public Radio News
8:03 pm
Wed February 10, 2010

DWI bill heard before Mo. House committee

Jefferson City, Mo. – A bill that would toughen Missouri's DWI laws received a hearing today (Wednesday) before State House members.

The bill would do several things. Among them: Drivers who refuse to take a blood alcohol test would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, and have two points added to their driving records.

James Clark with the Missouri Department of Public Safety testified in favor of the bill.

"About one out of every three alcohol influence reports that is received into the Missouri Department of Revenue is a refusal...so basically one time out of three, that driver who's stopped on the side of the road is going to refuse to submit to that breath or blood test," Clark told the House Crime Prevention Committee.

The bill would also require police, prosecutors and judges to submit information on all DWI offenses to the State Highway Patrol's DWI Tracking System (DWITS). And it would require all municipal judges to complete coursework that includes a review of the state's intoxication-related offenses.

The bill is sponsored by State Representative Bryan Stevenson (R, Webb City).

"I think the solution is to make sure that reporting happens the way it is happening, and to remove the repeat offenders, third time and above, to Circuit Court, and any second-time offenses that include injury or death," Stevenson said.

No one testified in opposition to the bill. The House Crime Prevention Committee will vote on it at a later date.