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Lawmakers move to fix glitch in Missouri drunken driving law

Lawmakers move to fix glitch in Missouri drunken driving law

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JEFFERSON CITY • The Missouri House moved to close a loophole in the state’s drunken driving law Monday, approving legislation that fixes a typographical error in a 2012 law.

The measure addresses an incident in which the word “and” was substituted in a state law when it was supposed say “or.”

The law was supposed to say that Breathalyzers used to gauge alcohol levels in the bloodstream should be calibrated at 1.0, .08 “or” .04, but instead said "and.” The Missouri Supreme Court ruled they had to be calibrated at all three levels.

Supporters of the fix said attorneys used the error to help defendants fend off jail time and fines.

“This was a procedural mistake,” said Rep. Dean Plocher, R-Des Peres, who sponsored the legislation.

The measure advanced to final passage stage in the full House on a 127-31 vote.

Opponents voted against the measure because it attempted to address a problem retroactively.

“I believe it is unconstitutional,” said Assistant Minority Leader Gina Mitten, D-Richmond Heights. “I believe it is changing the rules after the game has started.”

The legislation is House Bill 35.

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