Missouri DWI Lawyer Outlines Ramifications of Gov. Nixon's Proposed DWI Legislation

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Missouri DWI lawyer Christopher Angles today issued a statement in response to proposed legislation that will change the way Missouri DWI cases are recorded and tracked and the way Missouri DWI defenses are conducted.

Missouri DWI lawyer Christopher Angles today issued a statement in response to proposed legislation that will change the way Missouri DWI cases are recorded and tracked and the way Missouri DWI defenses are conducted.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced legislation on Dec. 9 to overhaul the way Missouri deals with drunken-driving cases. Nixon wants to eliminate loopholes that block prosecutions, ensuring that all DWI offenses are accurately recorded and tracked.

"What's being proposed here would alter the rights of DWI defendants throughout the state of Missouri and could potentially harm a defendant's ability to mount a DWI defense," Angles said. "It's important for everyone to understand the legal ramifications of what's being proposed here."

Nixon convened a DWI Summit on Nov. 4 to collect ideas for improving Missouri's DWI system from 30 participants including police chiefs, sheriffs, county and municipal prosecutors, judges, court clerks and victims' advocates. Based on that summit, Nixon is proposing a wide range of Missouri DWI legislative changes.

"Perhaps the most significant changes to Missouri DWI law involved the blood-alcohol test," Missouri DWI attorney Christopher Angles said. "This legislation proposes making it a crime for any driver to refuse to submit to a blood-alcohol test. Beyond that, repeat DWI offenders, drivers with a blood-alcohol level of .15 or above and drivers who refuse to submit to a blood-alcohol test would be charged in a state court rather than in municipal court. This means a Missouri DWI defense for the defendant would be subject to the most rigorous standards in bringing the defendant to justice and tracking cases to avoid repeat offenses."

Missouri DWI attorney Christopher Angles outlined other key points of the proposed legislation, including:

  •      Enhanced penalties for offenders with blood-alcohol levels of .15 and above. (Under Missouri law .08 is the presumed level of intoxication.)
  •      Expanding the use of ignition-interlock devices to include cases when the driver's blood-alcohol level was.15 or above or when a driver refuses to submit to a blood-alcohol test; current law limits the required use of these devices to repeat offenders.
  •      Eliminating the provision under current law that allows DWI offenders to have their records expunged after 10 years without another offense.
  •      Requiring all jurisdictions to enter DWI arrest and case information into the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Driving While Intoxicated Tracking System (DWITS) to strengthen the tracking of DWI offenders. (Grant funding could be withheld from agencies that fail to report.)
  •      Prohibiting a defendant from withdrawing a guilty plea for DWI when reaching the end of his probation under a suspended imposition of sentence (SIS).

Upon announcing his response to the proposed changes, Missouri DWI lawyer Christopher Angles said he looked forward to informing Missouri DWI defendants how the Angles Law Firm will help them address the proposed additions to Missouri DWI laws.

"This legislation would certainly constitute a significant overhaul of Missouri DWI law and would restrict DWI defendants from mounting a strong DWI defense," Angles said. "I welcome the opportunity to discuss the proposed legislation and assist DWI defendants with their DWI defense."

For more information, visit the website of MIssouri DWI attorney Christopher Angles at http://www.angleslaw.com/kansas_city_dui_dwi_lawyer/

Source: governor.mo.gov/newsroom/2009/Reform_Missouri_DWI_Laws

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