Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Strohmaier tweaks DUI ordinance

Posted By on Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 2:24 PM

After hearing concerns from civil libertarians who said Missoula City Council risked treading on constitutional protections, alderman Dave Strohmaier is toning down his proposed DUI ordinance.

“Hopefully this will address some of the concerns people have,” Strohmaier says.

Dave Strohmaier
  • Dave Strohmaier
As chair of the council’s Public Health and Safety Committee, Strohmaier put forward legislation in early February that would have made motorist refusal of a law enforcement officer’s request to submit to a drug or alcohol test within city limits a misdemeanor crime punishable by a $300 fine. The move would have beefed up the existing penalty for refusal, currently a civil infraction punishable by a six-month drivers license suspension.
Strohmaier met resistance from the ACLU and others who argued that his law would criminalize people for refusing a police search, potentially violating constitutional protections.

And so, the councilman is introducing an amendment that keeps refusal a civil offense, while leaving his proposed beefed-up penalty, a $300 fine on top of the six-month suspension, intact.

The City Council will take up the issue in a yet to be scheduled Public Health and Safety Committee meeting before it hits the council floor for additional debate.

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