Missouri State Legislature Considering Budget For DUI Checkpoints

Sobriety checkpoints are common in Missouri, particularly around holidays.  While sobriety checkpoints have been important in countering drunk driving, there could be changes coming this year as the state legislature debates whether DWI checkpoints should be included in the budget.  DWI checkpoints are put in place to allow police officers to stop motorists at random in an effort to determine whether they operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, but drugs as well.  This effort typically leads to several arrests, as you can imagine

What may change if funding for DWI checkpoints is not approved?  According to legislators, last year there was more than $1 million spent on checkpoints which officials feel outweigh the $1,000 per DUI arrest in terms of effectiveness.  This means that more money was spent on the effort to catch those driving under the influence than what was brought in, costing the state money.  Keeping costs under control is important for the state, however keeping those who've had too much to drink off of Kansas City and Missouri roadways is also a concern.

One solution according to reports is police conducting what are called "saturation" patrols, which means substantial resources are devoted to those areas where problems seem to be prevalent in terms of drunk driving.  In theory, legislators believe that costs could be kept in check while the number of DWI arrests would rise in these dangerous areas.

Does this make any difference to motorists in the area?  It could, considering drivers would be more likely to encounter police who are conducting DWI patrols in areas that are considered high-traffic throughout the city. 

Regardless of whether funding for DWI checkpoints is approved for Missouri's budget or not, it's vital to know that when stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated you do have legal rights.  Never provide information about your activities prior to being stopped, and don't attempt to convince police officers of your innocence.  The more you talk, the bigger the hole you are digging for yourself in terms of being charged with DWI or securing an effective defense that will result in your acquittal.

Police can be extremely persuasive in these circumstances, even convincing you they are your friends and are trying to help.  Never take the bait.  Remain silent, and invoke your right to speak with your Kansas City criminal defense lawyer.  Your legal rights must be protected, and all of the potential legal options explored in an effort to protect your freedom, reputation, and career.

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