There has been an increasing emphasis placed on getting repeat drunk drivers off of Missouri roadways as more and more stories get attention across the country of drivers who had been previously arrested who then go on to hurt or kill others in second or third drunk driving incidents. Just last week a man in Chicago was sentenced to 13 years in prison after he was convicted with his 10th incident of drunk driving. The judge threw the book at the man, saying he hoped such a harsh punishment deterred other drivers.
Also last week, the Wisconsin and North Dakota legislatures passed new lays designed to strengthen their existing drunk driving regulations, specifically with regards to repeat offenders. The Wisconsin proposal calls for the strict imposition of increased jail time for each successive DUI conviction, finally maxing out with someone’s 10th conviction, which would require judges to issue a four-year prison sentence.
Similar concerns have been raised in Missouri about the harm caused by repeat drunk drivers. The Missouri Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving has said it is unacceptable that each year, a third of the 35,000 people arrested for DWI in Missouri are repeat offenders. They say laws in the state should be strengthened to ensure known dangers are kept off the state’s roadways.
Already, Missouri has fairly stiff repeat drunk driving penalties, in fact, much more stringer then the new ones being proposed in Wisconsin. Drivers in the state who are convicted of a second drunk driving offense within five years of their first conviction can be sent to jail for a year and fined up to $1,000. Penalties increase with each subsequent conviction. Motorists in Missouri with a third drunk driving conviction face a possible four years behind bars and a $5,000 fine. Also, a ten year denial of license await those with three or more DWIs.
A fourth DWI conviction is deemed a felony in Missouri and those found guilty are known as aggravated offenders. Drivers with four DWIs face a possible seven years in prison and/or $5000.00 in fines. Finally, any driver with five or more drunk driving convictions on his or her record could wind up behind bars for 15 years, far longer than the proposed four years being considered by Wisconsin legislators. For a full list of punishments see Missouri Revised Statute 577.023.
If you’ve had a run in with the law and find yourself in need of a Missouri DWI defense lawyer capable of aggressively protecting your interests, contact our St. Louis DWI law firm today at (314) 863-0500.
Source: “Driving While Intoxicated (DWI),” published at DOR.MO.gov.