St Charles and the rest of Missouri may have seen the last of sobriety checkpoints for a while. Missouri legislature approved a move to cut funding to the checkpoints from $20 million to just $1. The 66 departments that rely on that funding for their programs will not be able to split that single dollar meaningfully, unfortunately. Many police departments consider the checks a valuable way to limit impaired driving. Now, they may have to go without, according to the Kansas City Star.
For instance, in St. Louis the choice will be between doing them with their regular personnel hours, or not at all. They usually have eight or nine checkpoints each year, and staff them by paying their officers overtime. Without the grant program from the state, they most likely will not be able to pay that overtime, and thus will probably not be able to continue having them. The same goes for St. Charles and their 12 checkpoints a year. Creve Coeur will also probably not continue their program.
Instead, it seems that most departments will move towards a “saturation” strategy. This means having a heavy police presence in a certain neighborhood at a certain time. Unlike checkpoints, the patrols would not be pulling over anyone who comes their way. They also would be moving around, as opposed to a fixed spot like with checkpoints. St. Louis had already started moving in that direction, so this budget cut will probably just speed up the process.
Organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving are concerned about the change. Megan Carter is the group’s state director. She says the that “funding for a tool that’s saving lives is being taken away from law enforcement.” She goes on to say that she believes the checkpoints are a valuable deterrent when would-be impaired drivers know there’s a checkpoint out there.
Opponents of the checkpoints feel that saturation is the way forward. They feel that with social media, it’s too easy for impaired drivers to avoid the “surprise” checkpoints. Saturation may involve some more patience, but officers will have more surprise on their side, and can focus on just catching drivers who seem impaired, instead of stopping everyone who comes their way.
Getting caught acting or being impaired at one of these checkpoints can have severe consequences. Depending on the situation, you may be in danger of being fined or going to jail. The best thing to do, whether there’s a checkpoint in place or not, is to have someone sober drive you home. That means calling a cab, an uber, or having a designated driver.
If you are caught for a DUI in Missouri, then the best thing to do is contact one of the talented DUI lawyers listed on usattorneys.com. An attorney will do their best to get your charges reduced or perhaps dismissed, so you can go on with your life without your mistake ruining your career or personal life.