SB 254 Modifies Missouri's law relating to intoxicated-related traffic offenses
Sponsor: Stouffer
LR Number: 1491L.07C Fiscal Note: 1491-07N.ORG
Committee: Transportation
Last Action: 5/13/2011 - In Conference--SS for SCS for SB 254-Stouffer, with HCS, as amended Journal Page:
Title: HCS SS SCS SB 254 Calendar Position: 13
Effective Date: August 28, 2011
House Handler: Cox

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Current Bill Summary


CCS/HCS/SS/SCS/SB 254 - This act modifies the law governing intoxicated -related traffic offenses.

LIMITED DRIVING PRIVILEGES LAW - This act creates a bifurcated limited driving privilege law. A person who has his or her driver's license suspended or revoked for reasons not related to drunk driving or blood alcohol content offenses may receive a limited driving privilege for the reasons currently allowed under Missouri law.

However, a driver who has been convicted of a DWI, BAC or any similar provision of any federal, state, county, or municipal law or whose license has been suspended or revoked under Missouri's administrative hearing law can only apply for a limited driving privilege for more limited purposes. Most notably, a person convicted of drunk driving or other similar law cannot receive a limited driving privilege for the purpose of seeking medical treatment or for other circumstances that might create a hardship for the driver. For purposes of federal transportation funding, federal law (23 USC §164) only allows the issuance of a limited driving privilege for repeat alcohol offenders in connection with: (1) work; (2) attending school; (3) attending alcohol treatment programs; and (4) seeking the required services of an ignition interlock provider. In order to comply with federal law, section 302.309.3(2) must be amended so that a repeat offender limited driving privilege may only be granted for the four purposes authorized by Section 164. Under the terms of this act, the courts and the department will only be able to issue limited driving privileges to persons convicted of a DWI, BAC, or other similar law for the purpose of driving to or from the operator's place of employment, attending school, attending alcohol or drug treatment programs, and seeking the services of a certified ignition interlock device provider.

This act also modifies the "hard walk" provision contained in section 302.309.3(6)(a) from 30 days to 45 days in cases of a revocation so that certain repeat offenders will not be eligible for a limited driving privilege until such person has completed the first 45 days of the revocation.

Current Missouri law (Section 577.023) allows prior and persistent offenders to participate in and successfully complete a DWI court in lieu of jail time or community service. A prior or persistent offender may escape the statutory minimum days of imprisonment by performing community service or successfully completing a DWI court program. Federal law, however, does not authorize DWI courts as an alternative to mandatory jail or community service. Under the terms of this act, prior and persistent offenders may avoid the minimum days of imprisonment by performing community service and completing a DWI court program, if such program is available. The DWI court program or other treatment program must include the minimal periods of community service.

Under current law, in a jury trial involving a repeat DWI offender, the defendant's status as a prior, persistent, aggravated, or chronic offender must be pleaded, established and found prior to submission to the jury outside of its hearing. Some repeat offenders have not received a fully enhanced sentence under the law because the Missouri Supreme Court has held that the statutes requiring a defendant's prior offender status be pleaded and proven prior to the case being submitted to the jury is mandatory and that a trial court is not authorized to determine a defendant's repeat offender status after a case is submitted to a jury. This act attempts to remedy §558.021by providing that any error or omission in pleading or proving an offender's repeat offender status may be corrected by amending the pleadings or supplementing the record, on notice and hearing, prior to sentencing. The act further provides that any error in pleading or proving a repeat offender's status shall not require vacation or reversal of sentence on appeal unless such error results in substantial prejudice to the rights of the defendant or a miscarriage of justice, and nothing in the statutes shall be construed to preclude a remand to permit correction of such error after notice and hearing (Sections 558.021).

Under current law, a prior offender of an intoxication-related traffic offense must perform at least 30 days of community service and a persistent offender must perform at least 60 days of service before being eligible for parole or probation. This act requires a prior offender perform at least 240 hours of service during those 30 days and a persistent offender perform at least 480 hours in 60 days (Section 577.023). This portion of the act can also be found in HB 199 (2011).

This act amends section 302.530 so that an administrative hearing to revoke or suspend a person's license for an excessive blood alcohol content violation may be conducted at a regional location designated by the director rather than the county where the arrest was made (Section 302.530).

Similar provisions contained in this act may also be found in the truly agreed to version of HB 430 (2011).

STEPHEN WITTE