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Sobriety checkpoints an issue in 2017 budget


Motorists on Kansas City roadways at one time or another may have encountered a sobriety checkpoint. At these checkpoints, police randomly stop vehicles to determine if the drivers are operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If the motorist shows any signs of impairment, the officer will perform a more detailed investigation to see if the driver should be arrested.

These sobriety checkpoints have often been cited as an effective tool in the fight against drunk driving, but, this could be changing in 2017. The Missouri state legislature is currently debating whether or not to include DWI checkpoints in this year’s budget. If the funds requested are not approved, it could mean changes for the way that police look for drunk drivers.

Officials feel that the costs of the sobriety checkpoints outweigh their effectiveness. According to legislators, over $1 million dollars was spent on DWI checkpoints in 2016. When arrest numbers from these checkpoints are examined, it comes out to a little over $1,000 per DWI arrest.

The cost-per-arrest is something that some legislators would like to see reduced. They believe that if law enforcement officers were conducting saturation patrols, the costs would decrease.

In saturation patrols, police devote significant resources to a specific area where DWI has been a significant problem. With more officers on the roadways in the most dangerous places, the number of DWI arrests would in theory increase, while keeping costs in check.

What this means for you

As legislators consider the budget for the upcoming year, it is important to note what these potential changes could mean for you. If saturation patrols become more widespread, it is likely that you will encounter more law enforcement officers in high-traffic areas throughout Kansas City.

If you are stopped by police, know that you have rights. You do not have to tell the officer anything about your evening prior to being stopped. If you are placed under arrest for drunk driving, do not try to talk your way out of the charges. You will only make your situation worse, and make it almost impossible to offer an aggressive defense.

The officer might try to make you think that he or she is on your side and just trying to make this whole thing go away. Do not talk to police without having an attorney by your side. Before you engage in any discussions with law enforcement, insist upon having an attorney present. Your attorney will be able to provide you with dedicated advice which will help you protect your rights at all times.

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Richard T. Bryant & Associates, P.C.

1111 Main Street, Suite 750
Kansas City, MO 64105

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