EXPLAINER: Missouri proposal would increase punishments for drunk drivers

Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 6:17 PM CST
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CAMDEN COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - A proposal pre-filed in the Missouri House could result in harsher punishments for those who choose to drive while intoxicated.

Democratic Representative Mark Ellebracht from Clay County is sponsoring pre-filed House Bill 1510. It increases the consequences for those choosing to drive while under the influence. Camden County Sheriff Tony Helms says there should be no reason to get behind the wheel while intoxicated.

”In today’s time, it’s just not necessary. There’s always a friend or taxi, Uber, whatever, they can get you a ride,” said Sheriff Helms.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving or MADD says the bill will be beneficial.

”Just because you haven’t injured or killed someone, you could have and so every time our police officers pull someone off the street, they’re saving lives because they’re preventing that person from injuring or killing anyone else, ” said Allyson Summers, Regional Executive Director of MADD.

The bill would make it more likely for people to serve at least some jail time.

”What the bill does is it specifies that an offender who is pulled over for driving under the influence has to serve a specified amount of time in prison before they can be released. Currently, the law states that that does happen unless there’s a special condition and they complete a training sobriety training class, or they complete community service or things like that,” said Summers.

Camden County has a task force dedicated to cracking down on DUIs. Sheriff Helms also has a personal connection to wanting to get these offenders off the street.

”I’ve had my family impacted by a drunk driver. It’s just, it’s something nobody wants to experience. It’s totally unnecessary,” said Sheriff Helms.

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