How much does a Missouri DWI affect auto insurance rates?

When Missouri authorities charge you with drunk driving and that charge winds up leading to a conviction, you can expect to have to pay a substantial amount of money in fines and other expenses relating to your action. Even if it is your first time receiving a driving while intoxicated conviction in the state, you can plan on it costing you a substantial sum. Furthermore, some of the DWI-related expenses you face will continue to plague you even after you begin driving again.

For example, you can expect to pay substantially more for automotive insurance coverage in Missouri once you have a DWI conviction on your record, reports, even if you are a first-time DWI offender. Just how much more will automotive insurance typically cost you once you have a Missouri DWI in your driving history?

By the numbers

If you are, in fact, a first-time DWI offender, and you had an otherwise relatively typical driving record before your conviction, you were probably paying your auto insurer somewhere around $1,288 annually for coverage. Once you have that DWI on your record, though, you can plan on your insurance premiums rising more than 60%. In fact, Missouri residents with DWIs typically see their automotive insurance rates go up 64% following their convictions, which is an $829 annual increase over what they were paying for coverage prior to their crimes.

Struggles associated with finding coverage

While paying 64% more each year for auto insurance can be a huge financial burden, you may also find that you have trouble obtaining insurance coverage from any provider once you get a conviction for drunk driving. Shopping around and securing quotes from several different providers willing to cover you may be your best bet at keeping your insurance-related expenses manageable.

A Missouri DWI conviction can impact your job, your personal relationships and your finances, among other areas of your life. In some cases, the financial repercussions associated with such a conviction can last several years, even longer.


Posted in DWI

Cops’ Tunnel Vision Can Yield Horrific Investigative Outcomes

Thanks goes out to our friends at Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry for this recent blog post.

The goal for any criminal defendant is obviously to be found not guilty of a crime.

Recently released study findings stress that suspects should also be just about as concerned that investigators never suspect guilt in the first place.

Here’s why, say university researchers who have scrutinized scores of wrongful conviction cases: Cops who zero in on an individual often tend to view evidence in a way that supports that individual’s guilt via so-called “confirmation bias.” They ignore evidence that offers up other possibilities.

Texas State University criminologists say that such “tunnel vision” is on display in many cases where innocent individuals are wrongly convicted. It spawns dire and sometimes unfathomably sad consequences.

Researchers Kim Rossmo and Joycelyn Pollock say that cops’ narrow focus needs to be consciously and systematically guarded against. It has led to draconian outcomes for legions of persons wrongly spotlighted in probes and thereafter pursued by law enforcers with “strong incentives to quickly identify the perpetrators of highly publicized crimes.”

Such crimes are often violent, which results in exceptionally lengthy prison terms for the wrongly convicted. The advocacy group Innocence Project has presented contradictory proofs in hundreds of cases that freed innocent parties in recent years.

Rossmo and Pollock say that investigators suffering from tunnel vision too often “pursue a single-minded course of action.” Doing so ignores or minimizes evidence pointing toward innocence rather than guilt.

The researchers say that “the purpose is to get an admission” for biased investigators embarked on interrogations.

To read the dissertation “The Effect of Confirmation Bias in Criminal Investigative Decision Making” by Wayne A. Wallace at Walden University, click here.


Illinois police seek Walter White look-alike on probation violation

If you are a Breaking Bad fan who subscribes to Netflix, chances are you have already seen the movie El Camino. But have you seen this Walter White look alike who police are searching for on a probation violation related to possession of methamphetamine?

Police in Illinois are looking for a man who bears a startling resemblance to “Breaking Bad” protagonist Walter White — and is wanted for a probation violation related to methamphetamine possession, according to a local report.

The Galesburg Police Department in Illinois regularly posts mugshots of wanted people to its Facebook page, but the post for Sept. 3, which featured 50-year-old Todd Barrick Jr., got extra attention. Barrick’s mugshot shows him sporting glasses and a goatee, similar to the character played by Bryan Cranston on the AMC series. Barrick is also the same age as the Walter White character when the series begins.

The Galesburg Police Department told KWQC-TV that Barrick’s probation violation was related to meth possession. The department did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Police in Illinois are looking for a man who has “Breaking Bad” fans doing a double take because the suspect looks like the television show’s Walter White and coincidentally is wanted in relation to methamphetamine possession, according to a local report.

Police in Illinois are looking for a man who has “Breaking Bad” fans doing a double take because the suspect looks like the television show’s Walter White and coincidentally is wanted in relation to methamphetamine possession, according to a local report. (Galesburg Police Department)

“Breaking Bad” ran for five seasons between 2008 and 2013. The show told the story of White, a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with lung cancer and turns to manufacturing meth to ensure his family’s financial security after he dies.

“Heisenberg lives!” one Facebook user commented under the police department’s post, referring to an alias used by White on the show.

“This new ‘Breaking Bad’ movie looks like it sucks!” another user wrote.

It was not immediately known if Barrick is currently in custody.



Facial Recognition Technology Threatens to End All Individual Privacy

Apple has been using facial recognition software as a security option on the iPhone X since 2017. Amazon has given its facial recognition system to police departments to try out. Microsoft claims it has resisted requests to sell its products to police and has called for government regulation. Axon, the largest maker of body camera in the United States, has taken out patents for facial recognition applications. New applications are announced daily.

Recently, the Department of Homeland Security announced its plan to use facial recognition software on 97 percent of departing air passengers by 2023. President Trump signed an executive order speeding up the use of facial recognition identification for “100 percent of all international passengers” in the top airports by 2021. Source.

Privacy advocates have raised serious civil rights concerns around facial recognition software. Currently, there are no laws regulating the use of facial recognition technology in the United States.

Crime Fighting

After 9/11, law enforcement used grainy images of hijackers in the airports on the morning of the assault. It took authorities weeks to identify the attackers. Unable to close the matter on its own, the FBI released 19 photos with possible names and aliases seeking help from the public.

Today, law enforcement could have identified the hijackers within three minutes using facial recognition software. Source.

A six month test of the use of facial recognition software in a robbery investigation unit found that it lowered the time to identify a suspect from an image from 30 days to three minutes.

In New York City, detectives have requested 7,024 facial recognition searches that resulted in 1,851 possible matches and 998 arrests.

Assault on Privacy Rights

Facial recognition is the perfect tool for oppression. It enables abusive and corrosive activities. It has a disproportionate impact on people of color and minorities. Due process is harmed because it shifts the ideal from “presumed innocent” to “people have not been found guilty of crime, yet.” It increases harassment and violence. It denies fundamental rights and opportunities (tracking one’s movements, habits, relationships, interests, and thoughts). It prohibits the average citizen from walking the streets in obscurity. It amplifies the money making market for facial recognition surveillance.

Professors Woodrow Hartzog and Evan Selinger state that “facial recognition technology is the most uniquely dangerous surveillance mechanism ever invented. Surveillance conducted with facial recognition systems is intrinsically oppressive. The mere existence of facial recognition systems, often invisible, harms civil liberties, because people will act differently if they are suspected they are being surveilled.” Source.

Clare Garvie, an associate with Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology, sounds the alarm on the use of facial recognition by law enforcement: “What happens if a system like this gets it wrong? A mistake by a video-based surveillance system may mean an innocent person is followed, investigated, and maybe even arrested and charged for a crime he or she didn’t commit. A mistake by a face-scanning surveillance system on a body camera could be lethal. An officer, alerted to a potential threat to public safety or to himself, must, in an instant, decide whether to draw his weapon. A false alert places an innocent person in those crosshairs.” Source.

In order to find a criminal, everyone has to be scanned. That data has to go somewhere. The companies that provide this technology are not obligated to let you know they are collecting and storing it–and possibly selling it to third parties.

We will monitor law enforcement in Southwest Missouri for use of facial recognition surveillance. If lawmakers do not take action on facial recognition surveillance, the privacy battle over the proper use and scope will play out on the streets instead of the courts.

What Happened When I Applied for My Medical Marijuana License in Springfield, Mo

With all the buzz surrounding the legalization of medical marijuana in Missouri, I decided to do a little research and find out what all the fuss is about. Medical marijuana can be used to treat things ranging from anxiety to the side effects of chemotherapy such as muscle spasm and nausea.  Additional research on my part led me to discover that studies performed by the U.S. National Cancer Institute even go as far as to show that marijuana kills cancer cells while protecting normal cells. 

I began asking around to find out how to go about obtaining my medical marijuana license. A friend who suffers from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) shared a business card and referred me to Green Harvest Clinic, LLC. As the card directed, I visited the website to schedule an appointment, but first checked out the qualifying conditions per article XIV of the Missouri Constitution. Qualifying conditions include:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Intractable migraines unresponsive to other treatment
  • A chronic medical condition that causes severe, persistent pain or persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to those associated with multiple sclerosis, seizures, Parkinson’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome
  • Debilitating psychiatric disorders, including, but not limited to, post-traumatic stress order, if diagnosed by a state licensed psychiatrist
  • Human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  • A chronic medical condition that is normally treated with a prescription medication that could lead to physical or psychological dependence, when a physician determines that medical use of marijuana could be effective in treating that condition and would serve as a safer alternative to the prescription
  • A terminal illness
  • In the professional judgement of a physician, any other chronic, debilitating or other medical condition, including, but not limited to, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, Huntington’s disease, autism, neuropathies, sickle cell anemia, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia and wasting syndrome.


Having suffered from migraines for several years that only respond to CBD oil, I thought medical marijuana might be worth a try. My initial visit to Green Harvest Clinic, LLC was $150 and I was given the option to pay by credit card online or at the time of my appointment. The website directed me to complete and upload the qualifying form MO 580 3277. I was able to schedule an appointment for the following day. Unsure of what to expect, I arrived a few minutes early to my appointment and was pleasantly surprised to find Green Harvest Clinic located in an office building on East Cherry. Upon entering the office, I was greeted by a clean cut, professional and very helpful receptionist. The office was exactly what you would expect the office of a physician to be – clean and somewhat sterile, but this office was a little different in the fact that the magazine selection on the table ranged from magazines touting the benefits of CBD to Skunk Magazine. The receptionist asked me to sign some paperwork like a HIPPA form and also initial that I am familiar with and understand the side effects of medical marijuana. After completing the forms, it was time for me to see the doctor. Dr. L.E. Mire, MD was professional and knowledgeable, but also pleasantly quirky. He asked me if I was familiar with the qualifying conditions and talked to me a little bit about the amount I should be using to prevent and treat my intractable migraines which turns out to be “one to two tokes a day.” Dr. Mire was very helpful in answering all my questions. He explained that with a medical marijuana license it is legal to possess up to four ounces, but most patients only need a prescription for an ounce.  When my appointment was finished, he sent me back out front where the receptionist uploaded all my paperwork, took a copy of my drivers license and took my picture to upload to my MMMP (Missouri Medical Marijuana Program) application. He asked me to create a password and explained that he created an account for me onine and that I would be receiving an email from Green Harvest Clinic, LLC with detailed information on how to complete my form. Within an hour I had received both my follow up email from the clinic and my email from MMMP. I was able to submit everything, and my application is now pending. Green Works, LLC advised me that while the website says it canMy license should be here any day so I should be set to begin my one to two tokes a day, right? Not so fast. Dr. Mire advised that while there aren’t any dispensaries in Missouri open until January,  Arkansas and Oklahoma both currently have dispensaries that are fully operational. Green Harvest Clinic did advise that before making the trip that I should call and make sure they will sell to someone with a Missouri license because as with any business, they have the right to refuse service to anyone.

I sat down with criminal defense attorney Adam Woody to find out where I stand legally once I possess my medical marijuana license in Missouri. It turns out there is still a lot of gray area, particularly in the time between now and January when dispensaries begin to open here in Springfield and across the state of Missouri. He advised that while you can purchase marijuana at dispensaries in other states you still can’t transport marijuana across state lines, license or not. Adam also advised me there are some downsides to having my medical marijuana license. Disadvantages include:

  • You can’t purchase or legally own a firearm.
  • You can’t possess a commercial transportation license. Currently the Department of Transportation does not authorize the use of medical marijuana. If a transportation employee tests positive for a drug test, medical marijuana card wont’ protect them.
  • You can’t hold a government job. If you work for the Federal Government, medical marijuana use will cost you the job; even in a state where it is completely legal. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation clarified that even medical marijuana patients were not allowed to use weed, and a failed test could lead to termination of employment.
  • Annual renewal fees. In my case, Green Harvest Clinic advised me the annual renewal fee is $100, but for each friend you refer, you receive $5 off your renewal fee the following year.


My final question for Adam was if with my medical marijuana license if I can legally go to a restaurant or bar and just light up on the patio? Adam said he “highly doubts you can light up in public, but none of that stuff has really been hashed out (pun intended).”

Anonymous Source



Your Keto Diet May Spell Trouble with the Breathalyzer

Taking care of your body is important. Maintaining the proper diet and exercise regime can help you feel physically and mentally fit.

The keto diet is popular for several reasons. Do you know what this diet does to your body and how it may affect you on the road? The keto diet may trip you up during a traffic stop. If an officer believes you are under the influence and asks you to take a breathalyzer, the keto diet may wind up landing you in jail.

Keto diet basics

People who abide by a keto lifestyle eliminate almost all carbohydrates from their diet. It encourages people to eat a higher amount of fat in place of carbs. In many ways, it is like other diets that abide by the belief that more fat, not less, makes the body more efficient. Doing this regularly puts the body in ketosis, forcing the liver to transform the fat into energy. It aids in weight loss and controls conditions like diabetes, as keto forces insulin and blood sugar to drop.

Effect on a breathalyzer

How can a diet designed to help the body hurts breathalyzer results? When the liver breaks down fat into ketones, it creates and expels acetone. One of the ways the body sheds the acetone is through the breath. When it comes out this way, it is very similar to ethanol alcohol. Standard breathalyzers may detect this isopropyl alcohol byproduct and believe it detects an alcoholic beverage, resulting in a false BAC reading.

Disproving the positive

Arguing with breathalyzer results on the scene may prove difficult. Because keto is a popular diet, law enforcement agencies throughout Missouri are familiar with a possible false positive. If you do not have any other signs of impairment, such as slurred speech, eye nystagmus or difficulty walking, you have a better case.

Maintaining a healthy diet should not mean you run the risk of a DWI charge. Speaking to an attorney with experience in this type of defense work may help get your faulty breathalyzer results thrown out.


Posted in DWI

Digital Jail: Electronic Monitoring Drives Defendants into Debt

As Missouri takes steps to reform its bail system, court advocates are concerned about a growing alternative to jailing people before trial: ordering them to wear ankle monitors. Ankle bracelets are promoted as a humane alternative to jail.

But private companies charge defendants hundreds of dollars per month to wear the surveillance devices. If people can’t pay, then they might end up back behind bars.

Last month, the Missouri Supreme Court issued new bond rules requiring courts to consider the ability of defendant’s to pay for electronic monitoring and consider how to minimize or waive the costs for defendants unable to pay.

Use and Cost on the Rise

Nationally, the use of ankle monitors is on the rise as cities and counties look for ways to reduce the number of people in their jails. Over the last 10 years, the number of accused and convicted criminal offenders monitored with ankle bracelets and other electronic tracking devices has risen 140 percent.

In Southwest Missouri, the monitoring devices cost defendants around $300 to $400 per month. Their payments go to various private bond companies, which operate with little oversight.

Reform advocates argue that these fees replicate the issues of cash bail: those who can afford them get to stay out of jail — and those who miss a payment can be sent back to jail.

Michael Milton, leader of the St. Louis office for The Bail Project, points out that one of the biggest problems is that these people have not been proven guilty of anything.

New Missouri Supreme Court Rules

On July 1, 2019, the Missouri Supreme Court issued new bond rules in an attempt to address this issue. Under the new rules, courts are required to consider how to best minimize the costs of electronic monitoring. And gave courts the ability to waive costs for defendants who cannot afford to pay all or a portion of those costs. Click here to read the new rule.

As expected, there have already been several challenges to this new rule regarding how judges can waive these costs and who is required to pay: the individual, the electronic monitoring company, or the State.

We will be keeping a close eye on the Missouri Supreme Court to rule on these challenges and will be monitoring courts in Southwest Missouri to make certain they are complying with these new changes. If you or someone you love has been required to wear a GPS ankle monitor, consider hiring an attorney to challenge that requirement.


Federal Government To Resume Capital Punishment After 16-Year Hiatus

Today, the Justice Department announced that it will carry out the death penalty for the first time in nearly two decades.

Attorney General William Barr directed the Bureau of Prisons to schedule the execution of five inmates after adopting an updated execution protocol.

After 16 years without an execution, Barr has directed the head of the Bureau of Prisons to execute “five death-row inmates convicted of murdering, and in some cases torturing and raping, the most vulnerable in our society — children and the elderly” in December and January, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.

In his statement, Barr said the government was moving to seek justice against the “worst criminals” and bring relief to victims and family members. At the same time, however, the government’s move is likely to reignite legal challenges to the specific protocol and reinvigorate a debate concerning the constitutionality of lethal injection.

The move represents a dramatic reversal after more than a decade-long hiatus in the federal use of capital punishment, as President Donald Trump has taken on the issue and called to “bring back the death penalty.” The death penalty is legal in 29 states and the federal government, though there have been no federal executions in nearly two decades and the number of people facing state executions has been on the decline.
The debate over capital punishment has been longstanding. Advocates argue that it’s a deterrent against serious crime and that justice is served for the victims or victim’s families. Opponents point to the racial disparities of death row inmates, the financial costs, and wrongful convictions.
At Barr’s direction, the Bureau of Prisons has adopted the Federal Execution Protocol Addendum which “replaces the three-drug procedure previously used in federal executions with a single drug—pentobarbital,” the Justice Department announced.
Legal Challenges Ahead

Barr’s announcement directs the federal government to use a new protocol — similar to what several states use — that has been under review for a number of years.

The executions are slated for the end of the year. But will likely face legal challenges and delays. Legal experts question whether any execution will take place as soon as December.

“Saying that you are going to adopt a protocol is not the same thing as having a protocol properly adopted through the required administrative procedures,” said Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a group that has been critical of how the penalty is administered. “You can’t just say it and have it happen. There is a legal process for a protocol to go into effect and there is a legal process for challenging the protocol.”

Opposition will continue once the protocol is formally proposed.

Already in the District of Columbia there has been an ongoing lawsuit involving the federal lethal injection process. There will be a range of questions about how the federal government is obtaining the drug it intends to use.

We will closely monitor whether federal prosecutors in Southwest Missouri decide to seek the death penalty.

Springfield Criminal Defense Attorney Adam Woody Explains How More Missourians Can Be Excused from Jury Duty

Last week, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed a bill into law that will allow certain people to automatically opt-out of jury duty at their choice. People who can now-opt out of the jury selection process are: healthcare providers, people that would endure extreme physical or financial hardship, nursing mothers, and those over 75 years old.  Springfield CBS affiliate KOLR10 did a story on the new law featuring Woody.

Old Law: Opt-Out With Oversight

Anyone summoned for jury duty goes through a selection process. Potential jurors are questioned extensively by attorneys for each party and by the judge and they can at that time give reasons why they wouldn’t be able to serve on the jury.

Attorneys for the State and for the defendant each have 6 “peremptory” strikes, which means they can strike a potential juror for no reason at all.  There are an unlimited number of “for cause” strikes, which are usually based on a hardship, such as age, work, financial hardship, etc. Criminal Defense Attorney Adam Woody says a new law allows some people to opt-out completely prior to having to appear for jury duty and go through the questioning process.

New Law: Opt-Out Without Oversight

“What this law does is essentially skips that step, and instead allows these people to be excused from jury service before even appearing, before even having to show up for service to go through the jury selection process,” Woody explains.

At age 72, Ruby McDaris has sat on a jury once, but her several times in the jury selection process opened her eyes to a lot of things.

“There was some things, ‘Oh I wouldn’t want to do that,’ but then I think, ‘That’s how the law works.’ So I saw a lot of insight for myself. I enjoyed it,” McDaris says.

McDaris can opt-out after she turns 75. Since the constitution provides anyone on trial a jury of his or her peers, Woody thinks that this could be an issue if many people are opting out.

“There are cases in which I would want a healthcare professional on the jury. There are cases which I may want an elderly person on the jury,” says Woody.

The change takes effect August 28.

This change could lead to interesting challenges by defendants who feel that their constitutional right to a jury trial by their peers has been impacted by allowing a large cross-section of the community to opt-out without any oversight. We look forward to monitoring how many potential jurors opt-out in Southwest Missouri once these changes are in effect.  At some point, the Constitutionality of this new law is sure to be challenged.


New Missouri Law Could Free Hundreds from Mandatory Prison Terms

Yesterday, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed a new law that could make hundreds of prisoners immediately eligible for parole, probation, or early release. The new law exempts some non-violent offenses from a state law that requires people to serve at least 40, 50, or 80 percent of their prison terms, depending on the number of previous convictions. These changes begin on August 28, when the new law goes into effect.

Governor Parson, a former sheriff, said that the bill would help bring “reform to Missouri’s criminal justice system.” Click here to read the full text of the new law.

National Trend

The new Missouri law reflects a national trend toward more lenient prison terms for some low-level criminals as governments shift toward alternative strategies focused on rehabilitation. It received strong support from both Republican and Democrats as it passed Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature earlier this year.

Decreasing Missouri’s Prison Population

Missouri’s prison population peaked at 33,243 in September 2007, but fell to 28,038 as of Monday. The Missouri Department of Corrections noted that the decrease is due to other recent changes to Missouri’s criminal sentencing laws.

The Department estimated that the new law could decrease Missouri’s prison population by 192 people this year and by 925 people by the 2023 fiscal year. That could save the State {and taxpayers} $1 million in avoided prison costs this year alone. And nearly $5.9 million by 2023.

Mandatory Minimums Still in Place for Violent Offenses

The measure would keep in place mandatory minimum sentences for murder, assault, rape, child sex crimes, and the most serious levels of arson, burglary, and robbery, as well as various other crimes. It also would subject people convicted of top-tier drug trafficking offenses to mandatory minimum sentences.

This is a positive change for our criminal justice system and our state’s economics. We will continue to monitor how this law is put into effect. It will be interesting to see how many non-violent offenders get released from custody and how much money this saves tax payers in Southwest Missouri.