Columbia Police to Increase Checkpoints for Impaired Drivers

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COLUMBIA - As Columbia comes to life this weekend with MU celebrating commencement, police will increase efforts to crack down on drunk drivers. 

"You know, we've realized that they will be celebrations going on around town, but we want to encourage everyone to, you know, if you are going to go out and drink and consume intoxicants, that you plan ahead and get a sober ride to get home," Columbia Police Department Traffic Unit Sergeant Curtis Perkins said.

Police said there will be sobriety checkpoints at unspecified locations at some point this weekend.

"Well there's a statewide campaign that goes during this time period," he said. "It actually ended last weekend, however, due to the fact that here in Columbia the graduations continue on through this weekend we extended our increased enforcement through this weekend."

The punishment for first time offenders or a first conviction in five years, is suspension of the driver's license for 30 days followed by a 60 day suspension if the driver does not get a hardship license. 

A second conviction could mean a $1,000 fine, along with the revocation of your license for up to a year. Those who fall under this group will also be required to install an ignition interlock system on their vehicle. This would prevent the car from starting when the driver has alcohol in their breath. 

Those convicted three times or more for drunk driving could get a fine of up to $5,000, a 10-year license denial and/or up to seven years in jail. 

Drivers who cause a fatal crash because of intoxication could result in a involuntary manslaughter charge, which is a felony that could result in seven years of jail time, a $5,000 fine or both.