CPD ranks second for DWI arrests in Missouri

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COLUMBIA -The Columbia Police Department DWI Unit ranks second in the state for DWI arrests. 

According to the April edition of City Source, the City of Columbia's newsletter, CPD made 264 DWI arrests in 2014. Joplin ranks first with 374 DWI arrests.

Officer Nate Turner of the DWI Unit said DWI's are a preventable crime. 

"If your going to consume alcoholic beverages, don't get behind the wheel," Turner said. "It's best to catch a cab, walk home or call a friend."

Director of the Wellness Resource Center, Kim Dude said a DWI charge has both immediate and long term effects for drivers. 

"The consequences aren't just right now," Dude said. "Many of the employers do criminal background checks on folks before they hire them, if they see they have a DWI its to their disadvantage." 

Dude said the financial costs of paying a lawyer, court fees, fines and any required classes ranges between $4,000-5,000. 

Turner said the stigma of having a DWI charge along with the finacial cost should deter drivers from drunk driving.

Other possible DWI penalties include license revocation and losing car insurance protection. 

"The police are there to stop you from hurting yourself or another person," Dude said. 

Dude added that the high number of arrests doesn't necessarily mean there's more drunk drivers in Columbia than other cities, but that CPD is dedicated to enforcing the laws with sobriety checkpoints and traffic stops.

"The police are very aggressive about arresting people for drinking and driving and luckily our judges and prosecutors are pretty aggressive about having them have a consequence to it," Dude said.

Dude said aggressive enforcement tactics help deter drinking and driving.

She also said she noticed an increase in desginated drivers which contributes to lowering the risk of drunk driving.