In an effort to keep intoxicated drivers off the road and make driving more safe for local residents, the Hazelwood Police Department (HPD) will be continuing its high enforcement of state DWI laws until January 2, 2014.
A DWI Sobriety Checkpoint is scheduled during the weekend of Dec. 6-7 at an undisclosed location within city limits. Additional DWI Sobriety Checkpoints may be conducted during this period as well as more roving patrols.
“Every December we usually see a spike in alcohol-related traffic accidents and fatalities because more people are celebrating the holidays and attending parties where alcoholic beverages are served,” said Hazelwood Chief of Police Gregg Hall. “Unfortunately, some of these people get behind the wheel while they’re intoxicated and create dangerous situations for themselves and others on the road. The HPD will be stepping up its enforcement of state DWI laws this holiday season in order to keep local roads and highways safe for our citizens.”
To illustrate the effectiveness of the HPD’s on-going DWI Sobriety Checkpoint Program, a DWI arrest was made during the last event on Oct. 11 involving a three-time offender, making it a felony. It also required a search warrant to be issued for blood evidence. Other actions taken included one fugitive arrest, one revoked license violation, two suspended license violations, one drug arrest for the possession of marijuana, and 18 traffic citations were issued.
The consequences of being arrested for drunk driving can be substantial. An individual who causes a fatal crash while intoxicated can be charged with involuntary manslaughter, a felony resulting in up to seven years of jail time, a $5,000 fine or both. For the first conviction, offenders can have their license suspended for 90 days. They could also be fined up to $500 and given a 6-month jail sentence.
Those who are charged with a second conviction can expect to have their license revoked for one year. Other consequences include the following: a fine up to $1,000; one-year jail sentence; and mandatory requirement to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle before having their driving privileges reinstated.
Additional repercussions often include attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential of losing one’s job or job prospects.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol urges all citizens to report any vehicle operating in a careless manner. They can call the toll-free number, which is 1.800.525.5555, or use their cellular phone by dailing *55. For more information, go to www.savemolives.com.