Key Findings and Observations MADD Missouri’s Court Monitoring Program primarily focused on the following counties during the time period outlined above: • Eastern Region of Missouri- Franklin County, Jefferson County, St. Charles County and St. Louis County; • Western Region of Missouri- Cass County, Clay County, Camden County, Greene County, Jackson County, and Platte County. Maintaining a presence in the courtrooms through observation, as well as building relationships with prosecutors and judges, has allowed for continued ongoing productive discussions between citizens and the judiciary, making the courts more accountable to the communities they serve. Most of the cases we monitored, as noted by the criminal charge graph, were DWI misdemeanor offenses (72%). The majority of the DWI cases tracked are of first-time offenders (66%). Typically, first time offenders receive a Suspended Imposition of Sentence (SIS), which accounts for many of the total dispositions in most of the counties monitored. Even though defendants plead guilty with a SIS, if upon successful completion of their probation, the charge will not stay on their permanent criminal record. Therefore MADD does not recognize these as true convictions. Dating back to 2015, we have observed and documented a 4% reduction in amended charges of DWI cases monitored. We have seen a fluctuation of total SIS dispositions of monitored DWI cases, with the highest at 54% in 2019, and the lowest of 47% in 2020. We saw an increase in guilty dispositions in 2020 with 39% of dispositions being guilty, which is a 4% increase from 35% in 2019. The number of total dismissals went down by 1% over the same time period, accounting for only 3% of the total dispositions of DWI cases monitored. Conversations with prosecutors have illustrated that many of the DWI cases being amended from their original charge were for any of the following reasons: first time offense, no prior criminal history and/or no additional criminal violations while case was pending, successfully follow and abide the bond conditions, length of time between current charge and last conviction, and employment/school status. The most common offender age range was 30-39 (31%), followed closely by 28% of offenders aged 21-29. Many counties require offenders to complete special conditions as part of their sentence. Primarily ordered most often are a combination of community service, victim impact panel, SATOP (State sponsored program called Substance Awareness Traffic Offender Program) and two years of probation. For instance, 38% of the 1,222 cases adjudicated offered supervised or unsupervised probation for 2 years. 33% of offenders found guilty were sentenced to attend a MADD Victim Impact Panel and 34% were sentenced to attend SATOP. We often observed ignition interlock devices being added for repeat felony offenders, though it was not uncommon for first time offenders to receive them also. Missouri has a first-time offender ignition interlock law; however, it is administrative (managed by Departments of Motor Vehicles rather than courts).
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAS BEEN AFFECTED BY DRUNK OR DRUG- IMPAIRED DRIVING, MADD IS HERE TO HELP. CALL OUR VICTIM/ SURVIVOR 24-HOUR HELPLINE AT 877-MADD-HELP (877-623-3435).
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