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Lawrence County sheriff nets arrests with DWI campaign

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Officers with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office continue their efforts to keep Missouri roadways safe.

On Friday, Aug 14, the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office conducted a Hazardous Moving Violation Project between the hours of 8 p.m. and 2 a.m.

According to Lawrence County Sheriff Brad DeLay, there were 10 Lawrence County officers who conducted the project that resulted in 80 traffic stops.

During the operation, three arrests were made for driving while intoxicated. Summons were also issued for speeding, driving while revoked, no insurance, stop sign violations, failure to register motor vehicle and various equipment violations.

On Aug 15, the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office, in cooperation with the Southwest Missouri (SWMO) DWI Task Force, conducted a sobriety checkpoint on Highway H near Freistatt between the hours of 10 p.m. and 1:45 a.m.

According to DeLay, approximately 40 officers from the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office and the SWMO DWI Task Force assisted in this operation.

Police departments that provided officers for the checkpoint included Lawrence County, Jasper County, Monett, Webb City, Carthage, Joplin, Anderson and the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) also provided support personnel for the operation.

During the operation, approximately 470 vehicles passed through the checkpoint and 15 arrests were made for driving while intoxicated.

In addition, numerous citations were issued for various offenses. They included nine citations for driving with no insurance, one driving while revoked, two child restraint violations, one driving without a valid drivers license, one speeding and one seatbelt violation. One subject was taken into custody for Immigration Customs Enforcement.

The funds for both operations were provided through a grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation's Highway Safety Division.

In addition, the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office will be cracking down on impaired drivers during the statewide "You Drink and Drive, You Lose" campaign from Aug 21 through Sept 7.

During this campaign, law enforcement efforts will be increased in an endeavor to reduce the deaths and serious injuries caused by impaired drivers.

"Driving while intoxicated is one of the most common violent crimes, randomly killing or injuring someone in Missouri every 1.7 hours," said Sheriff DeLay. "These tragedies are preventable when drivers make a simple, smart choice not to drink and drive."

Some of the consequences to be considered if a person chooses to drive while they are intoxicated include:

* If a person causes a fatal accident while they are intoxicated, they can be charged with involuntary manslaughter, a felony charge that could result in up to seven years in jail, a $5,000 fine or both.

* A 90-day suspension of their drivers license on the first DWI conviction, a fine up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.

* A second DWI conviction results in a year-long revocation of a drivers license, a fine up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.

* Minors may additionally be subject to a minor in possession citation, resulting in a 90 day suspension of a driver's license for the first offense. This is in addition to any suspension resulting from "point" assessment on an alcohol conviction.

* Vehicle insurance coverage will be difficult to find and insurance rates will be significantly higher.

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