Officials in the City of St. Louis are putting impaired drivers on notice.
Beginning Monday, St. Louis is a "No Refusal Zone." That means that police will automatically seek a search warrant allowing blood-alcohol tests for suspected drunk drivers who refuse to take a breath test.
Susan Ryan, a spokesperson for the circuit attorney's office said in a statement that "too many impaired drivers have learned how to game the legal system by refusing to submit to field sobriety tests." Ryan says In St. Louis, the refusal rate is over 50 percent.
Ryan says the ultimate goal of the initiative is to reduce the number of DWI fatalities and injuries.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department will soon have an additional $22,000 to find and stop drunken drivers.
The county council agreed to accept $22,000 from the state. The Post-Dispatch reports the county only took the money on the condition that the funds be used for DUI checkpoints and not safety checkpoints. County residents argued earlier this year that safety checkpoints, which include checks for seat belt usage, violated their civil rights. The backlash was so great that the county rejected a grant in October that would have funded DUI and safety checkpoints.
The grant money will be split between covering the cost of officer overtime to man the checkpoints and equipment--such as road flares and safety vests.
CASEYVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a former metro-east police officer has been charged with driving under the influence and impersonating a police officer.
Caseyville Police Chief Jose Alvarez says 56 year old Harold J. Johnson of Brooklyn is being held in the St. Clair County Jail with bond set at $10,000.
Authorities say Johnson was pulled over for a traffic violation early Saturday. Alvarez says Johnson was driving under the influence and claimed to be a Brooklyn police officer during the stop. He had a loaded gun with him, which police seized. Police later learned Johnson had been fired from the Brooklyn police force earlier this year, but he hadn't turned in his gun and badge.
It was not immediately clear if Johnson has an attorney.
Illinois State Police are preparing to launch Operation Fatal 4 over Labor Day weekend -- one the busiest driving periods on Illinois roadways.
Troopers will saturate the interstates and local roadways looking for drivers committing the four most common traffic violations: Speeding, DUI, seat belt violation, and distracted driving. ISP officials say drivers who choose to violate the law face fines and possible jail time.
This is the seventh year of the Fatal 4 Mission. Last year, troopers made more than 90 DUI arrests and cited more than 3,300 drivers for speeding, distracted driving and seat belt violations over the Labor Day weekend.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has ruled that police must usually try to obtain a search warrant from a judge before ordering blood tests for drunken-driving suspects.
The justices on Wednesday sided with a Missouri man who was subjected to a blood test without a warrant and found to have nearly twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor said for the court that the natural dissipation of alcohol in the blood is generally not sufficient reason to jettison the requirement that police get a judge's approval before drawing a blood sample.
Missouri and the Obama administration were asking the court to endorse a blanket rule that would have allowed the tests without a warrant.
MARION, Ill. (AP) - A man who resigned as a southern Illinois sheriff's deputy after being accused of drunken driving for the second time in five years has pleaded not guilty to his latest DUI count.
WSIL-TV reports that 48-year-old deputy Shaunn Curry entered the plea Tuesday in Williamson County Circuit Court. He's charged with driving under the influence.
Authorities say the Williamson County deputy was off duty in his own vehicle March 1 when he was stopped near Marion after several motorists called 911 to report a possible drunken driver.
Curry was found guilty in 2009 of DUI related to a December 2007 wreck he had while off duty. He was sentenced to two years of conditional discharge.
He resigned late last month.