Sikeston to raise cost of DWI convictions

Thursday, December 9, 2010

SIKESTON, Mo. -- Getting caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will become even more costly in Sikeston beginning Jan. 6.

During its regular monthly meeting Monday, the Sikeston City Council approved a bill that provides for the reimbursement of costs associated with the arrest and conviction on violations involving alcohol and drug-related traffic offenses.

During a recent review of city code, it was brought to the attention of officials that Sikeston is authorized to seek reimbursement for the costs when a defendant pleads or is found guilty.

Reimbursable costs include the fees charged for chemical or lab tests required by law to determine the alcohol or drug content of a person's blood and the costs of processing, charging, booking and holding the defendant in custody.

Municipal Judge Frank Marshall requested that the Department of Public Safety establish a fixed cost associated with specific offenses that are to be submitted to the judge for assessment at the time of sentencing.

DPS officials have estimated the total to be $213.75. This amount may be added as restitution in addition to fines and court costs, according to Linda Lowes, director of governmental services.

The judge does have the authority to reduce the assessment if he believes it to be excessive.

Violations for which reimbursement may be required include: driving under the influence; driving with a blood-alcohol content of .08 or higher; and driving under the influence of drugs.

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