SeMo Prosecutor Writing Tougher Law Against DWI, Drugs

DECEMBER 15, 2006 - Posted at 7:38 a.m. CST

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO - An expanded DWI law would forbid Missouri drivers from getting behind the wheel with any amount of a nonprescribed drug in their systems.

The proposed change is being drafted by Cape Girardeau County Prosecutor Morley Swingle, and it could be signed into law by Governor Blunt before 2008.

First-time offenders would be charged with a misdemeanor and face a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.

The law would allow police to test drivers for drugs and use those results as evidence in court.  That would save the state the expense of toxicology reports or testimony from toxicologists in its prosecution of offenders.

State Senator Jason Crowell of Cape Girardeau said he asked for Swingle's help in drafting the proposal.  He cites the disparity in the legal system that prosecuted drunken drivers but not drivers with controlled substances in their systems.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)