As Jefferson City Missouri Car Accident Lawyers have reported before, various Missouri law enforcement agencies conducted sobriety checkpoints throughout the state in a widespread effort to cut down on Fourth of July weekend auto accidents, injuries and fatalities. In Cole County, the Sheriff's Department assembled what they referred to as the largest sobriety checkpoint in their history this past Friday, July 1st.
Sobriety check points have proven effective in reducing the number of drunk drivers on the road in repeated studies, all over the world. It doesn't seem to affect the success rate if the checkpoint is only for a holiday weekend, or is operating long term.
At least 1,700 vehicles passed through the Cole County sobriety checkpoint on Highway 54 west at Hammond Road. Deputies stopped 523 vehicles and issued twelve violations as part of their effort to deter drinking and driving over this particular holiday weekend.
The Cole County Sheriff's Office reported the following:
• one felony driving while intoxicated
• one DWI
• two cases of driving with a suspended license
• one citation of driving with a revoked license
• one case of drug possession
• one case of a minor in possession of alcohol
• one careless and imprudent driving case
• one case of failure to follow a traffic control device
• one littering citation
In Oct. of 2010, Sheriff Greg White announced that his department had received $26,250 in traffic safety grants. This is federal grant money, but the sheriff's office received it through Missouri's Transportation Department Highway Safety Division. The money must be used by Aug. 31, 2012.
Cole County plans on using approximately $10,000 to pay for five sobriety checkpoints, such as the one over Fourth of July weekend. Another $8,000 will also be used for DWI enforcement, to augment the sobriety checkpoints. This initiative will consist of focused patrols cruising Cole County's roads, watching for any sign of impaired drivers.
Yet another $8,000 will be used to pay officers' overtime for another initiative--the hazardous moving violations enforcement. Officers focus on speeding, lane usage on multi-lane highways, and of course, driving under the influence.
So far this year, Sheriff White's department has arrested almost 100 drunk drivers.
"We feel we are making a difference," said Sheriff White. "Thanks to these grants unincorporated Cole County alcohol-related deaths have declined since 2006."
In case you are wondering the difference between a DWI and a felony DWI, it has to do with the amount DWI offenses the driver has. A first DWI is considered a Class B misdemeanor with a possible jail term up to six months, and a 30 day license suspension. However, by the time someone has their third offense, they are considered a persistent offender. At this point, their DWI becomes a class D felony. This carries a possible sentence of up to four years jail time and license revocation for one year.
All Missouri DUI offenders must complete a mandatory Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program before having their license reinstated.
At the Jefferson City Missouri car accident firm of Aaron Sachs, we have seen our fair share of clients injured in drunk driving accidents. We wholeheartedly support these initiatives by the Cole County Sheriff's Department, as well as other law enforcement agencies throughout our state to make our highways safer for all of us.