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Mo. House passes DWI overhaul

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – A bill designed to get drunk drivers off the road passed the Missouri House Thursday.

It mandates that anyone with a .15 blood alcohol level spend at least 48 hours in jail, and those with a .20 will be locked up for five days. But it also gives persistent DWI offenders the option of treatment over jail time.

The bill was sponsored by State Representative Bryan Stevenson (R, Webb City).

"There are safeguards, but this person can get their license back and they can go to work, they can earn a living, they can provide for themselves as opposed to being incarcerated and costing the state money," Stevenson said.

Municipal judges would be required to take courses on Missouri's drunk driving laws and submit all of their DWI case results to a central databank.

The bill is one of Governor Jay Nixon's top priorities this session. It passed the House and Senate with unanimous votes in both chambers.