Facing a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge is an unexpected and challenging ordeal. None of us anticipate finding ourselves in this situation, yet it can happen to anyone. When the flashing lights appear in your rearview mirror or you’re stopped at a sobriety checkpoint, it’s crucial to know your rights and understand the DWI laws in Missouri.
Let’s understand the meaning of a DWI charge, guide you through the essential steps to take when charged, and explain how a skilled DWI lawyer can be your ally in navigating the difficult journey of a DWI case.
DWI Laws in the Ozarks Jurisdiction:
A DWI accusation means that you’re facing charges for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The state takes these charges seriously, and they come with harsh consequences.
- Driving while intoxicated is usually a Class B misdemeanor for the first offense.
- You will usually not be eligible for a suspended imposition of sentence if you plead guilty or are convicted of a DWI unless you successfully complete a two-year probation minimum.
- In circuit courts with a court-ordered treatment program, if you are operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15% you will be eligible for a suspended imposition of sentence–which means you plead guilty without a trial, and it doesn’t go on your criminal record.
However, if you are not granted a suspended sentence for a first-offense DWI, you will face these consequences:
- A mandatory 48-hour jail stay if operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.15% or more.
- A minimum of five days behind bars if your BAC surpasses 0.20%.
It’s important to understand that DWI charges are a big deal, and if you’re facing them, you should seek legal help right away to help build your DWI case.
Dual Legal Framework in a DWI Case:
Understanding the nuances of a DWI case in the Ozarks involves recognizing the dual legal framework at play:
Criminal Law: This law pertains to the ticket issued. If you are convicted of an alcohol offense, the court will send a copy of the conviction to the department and proper points are assessed on your driver record. These points may lead to a suspension or revocation of your driving privilege.
Administrative Law: This law imposes an automatic suspension or revocation of your driving privilege if your BAC level exceeds the legal limit or if you refuse the BAC test(s), irrespective of the court’s disposition of the ticket or any reduction to a lesser charge.
Consequences for DWI Repeat Offenders:
To make informed decisions when facing a DWI case, it’s crucial to understand the potential penalties and consequences. Legal guidance and support from a DWI lawyer can help in navigating these challenging situations effectively.
First Convictions: A first-time conviction for excessive blood alcohol content (BAC) or DWI by alcohol or drugs, results in a 90-day suspension of your driving privileges. You may be eligible for a Restricted Driving Privilege (RDP).
Note: If you are convicted of operating a commercial motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher, you’ll receive 2 points on your Missouri driver record and be disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for one year.
Multiple Convictions: Regardless of the time between convictions, a second intoxication-related traffic offense usually leads to a 1-year revocation of your driving privileges due to the accumulation of points.
Second Conviction Within Five Years: If you are convicted of an alcohol- or drug-related offense for the second time within five years, you may also face a 5-year license denial.
Three or More Convictions: The consequences become more severe if you receive three or more convictions for intoxication-related traffic offenses. You will typically face a 10-year license denial.
A DWI Lawyer: Your Best Defense
Facing a DWI charge is an unexpected and challenging ordeal that can happen to anyone. Whether you are stopped at a sobriety checkpoint or see those flashing lights in your rearview mirror, knowing your rights and understanding the potential consequences becomes crucial.
DWI charges in Missouri come with severe penalties, including fines, possible jail time, and the loss of your driver’s license.
Contact Ozarks DWI Law Clinic, and you’ll receive the support that is essential when navigating these challenging situations. Our skilled DWI lawyers will be your ally in understanding the complexities of your DWI case, helping you make informed decisions, and working towards the best possible outcome.
Remember, responsible and sober driving is not only a legal obligation but also a crucial step in ensuring your safety and the safety of others on the road. Ozarks DWI Law Clinic can help you stay informed and stay safe.