The Ultimate Guide to Aggravated DWI Charges in Missouri
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What Is Aggravated DWI in Missouri?
In Missouri, aggravated DWI refers to a charge brought against an offender with three or more convictions for intoxication-related traffic offenses. However, aggravated DWI may also include DWI offenses that involve involuntary manslaughter, murder in the second degree, second-degree assault, or assaulting a police officer.
Aggravated DWI can result in harsher penalties. These include longer driver’s license suspensions, higher fines, and lengthier prison sentences, among other penalties.
Working with an aggravated DWI lawyer is critical if you’ve been accused of an aggravated DWI charge in Missouri. The attorneys at the Ozarks DWI Law Clinic have been working on DWI cases in the state for several years and have the skills and experience you may need.
Request a free initial consultation now.
Is Aggravated DWI a Felony?
According to Missouri law (577.010), the driver can be considered an aggravated offender if they act criminally negligent and causes bodily injury to another person, law enforcement officer, or emergency personnel. These aggravated DWI charges would be prosecuted as felonies.
Having a minor younger than 17 while committing DWI is also an aggravating factor. It is a criminal offense for an adult in charge of a minor to knowingly or with negligence “create a substantial risk to the life, body, or health of a child.” In that case, the driver could face two charges: aggravated driving and felony child endangerment (Missouri Statute 568.045).
What Makes Aggravated DWI a Felony?
An aggravated DWI differs from a regular DWI because first and second-offense DWIs are usually charged as misdemeanors. Unlike a first offense, conviction as an aggravated DWI offender is a felony with a jail time of up to seven years.
On the other hand, third and subsequent intoxication-related incidents are charged as felonies. Felony DWI may result in enhanced penalties that increase with each subsequent conviction.
First and second DWI offenses are treated as misdemeanors and carry misdemeanor criminal penalties. A third DWI offense is a Class D felony, persistent offender. Your fourth aggravated DWI offense will result in a Class C felony charge. Fifth-time offenders deemed habitual DWI offenders are usually charged with a Class B felony, chronic offender.
Penalties for Aggravated DWI
The penalties will typically depend on the type of drunk driving offense one is convicted of and if they have prior convictions of driving while ability impaired.
Fourth DWI Offense in Missouri
Missouri’s fourth DWI charge is categorized as a Class C felony, aggravated offender. It carries an enhanced maximum jail sentence of 7 years imprisonment or one year in the county jail and a maximum fine of $5,000. Also, a minimum of 60 days of incarceration is required before an offender is eligible for parole. No community service or other alternatives are available for this conviction.
Additionally, offenders may have their licenses revoked indefinitely, though they may apply for reinstatement after 10 years.
Fifth and Subsequent DWI Offenses in Missouri
A fifth or subsequent DWI charge is considered a Class B felony, chronic offender. Exceptions to this rule are infrequent, and often, the driver must serve a minimum of two years in prison to be eligible for probation or parole. If convicted, the driver faces between five and fifteen years in prison.
After a second aggravated DWI offender has served their time, their license may never be reinstated. However, this depends on the facts of each case.
Given the harsh penalties in second and third-aggravated DWI cases, hiring a trustworthy DWI lawyer is critical as soon as possible.
Contact the Ozarks DWI Law Clinic for assistance if you have been charged with an aggravated DWI. We have attorneys well-versed in DWI in Missouri who have worked on similar cases with exceptional results.
Additional Penalties for All Aggravated-DWI Convictions
Additional penalties that aggravated DWI offenders include:
- Financial implications: You may have the burden of paying fines, court costs, attorney’s fees, and a lifetime of having a DWI/DUI conviction on your motor vehicle record all add up. Also, insurance rates may be dramatically increased. Your auto insurance company may increase your rates or cancel your coverage altogether.
- Drug and alcohol assessment, screening, and treatment. If you are found guilty of aggravated DWI with a blood alcohol level of less than .15% and a minor as a passenger, you will be subjected to screening for substance dependency and abuse. Suppose an assessment determines that one requires treatment for drug or alcohol dependency or abuse. In that case, they will have to complete treatment, which is one of the conditions to be fulfilled before they are granted probationary terms.
- Victim Impact Program – DWI offenders must attend a victim impact program (VIP) in some states. An offender must participate in several presentations about the consequences of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Given the harsh penalties that may result from a felony aggravated DWI conviction, hiring an experienced DWI attorney and establishing an attorney-client relationship as soon as you are charged is essential.
At the Ozarks DWI Law Clinic, we have an experienced attorney for DWI cases who has worked on these matters for years. Contact us today for legal representation if you have been charged with aggravated DWI.
What Is the Legal Limit for Blood Alcohol Content in Missouri?
In Missouri, a driver with a blood alcohol content equal to or greater than the legal limit of .08% may be convicted of a DWI with no other evidence required. The chemical test is often sufficient evidence.
This is referred to as per se BAC limit under DWI laws. Missouri has also set laws that impose enhanced penalties for aggravated DWI, including having a BAC of 0.15% or higher.
In addition, anyone under the age of 21 is subject to a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of not more than 0.02%. Driving above this limit will usually result in harsh penalties for the driver.
DWI Checkpoints in Missouri
Drivers may encounter a DWI checkpoint, also known as a sobriety checkpoint. Law enforcement officers will stop vehicles randomly at these checkpoints and check for signs of alcohol consumption or drug use.
They will perform field sobriety tests to determine if the driver has been drinking or using drugs. The tests consist of physical activities like walking on the line, standing on one leg, and counting backward. If the driver fails any of these tests, they may be subject to further investigation.
It is important to note that a DWI checkpoint does not necessarily mean that you will be charged with aggravated DWI—it simply means that the police are monitoring and looking for signs of drunken driving or drug use.
Aggravated DWI Attorney in MissouriI
An aggravated DWI in Missouri involves being found guilty of DWI in addition to aggravating circumstances such as having blood alcohol levels above the legal limit, having a child in the car, or having a prior conviction for DWI.
Given the severity of the penalties, it is critical to always work with a DWI attorney with the skill and experience to get you favorable outcomes.
While we do not guarantee a similar outcome in line with prior results, the Ozarks DWI Law Clinic team has helped past clients avoid the harsh consequences of conviction, including license revocation, community service, prison sentences, and high fines.
A DWI arrest does not have to mean an automatic conviction. Our attorneys provide sound legal advice and work hard to prepare a solid defense to give you the best chance of success in court. Contact us today for a free consultation about your aggravated DUI in Missouri.