Protect Your Rights in a DWI
A Comprehensive Guide to DWI Missouri
If you’ve been accused of driving while intoxicated, you need an experienced legal advocate on your side. Call the expert DWI Attorney Springfield MO.
939 N. Boonville, Suite B, Springfield, MO 65802
Driving While Intoxicated Missouri
When a person gets indicted for driving while intoxicated (DWI), it means the person was found operating a commercial motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Operating a motor vehicle under alcohol or drugs is considered a severe offense. It negatively impacts your safety as an individual and everyone using the road.
According to Missouri law, all motorists under the influence are prohibited from operating vehicles. If you are charged with an intoxication-related traffic offense, consider contacting a DWI lawyer for legal advice and assistance.
Missouri DWI Laws Overview
Missouri DWI laws also forbid being in actual physical control of a vehicle in an intoxicated or drugged condition. That means you can experience a DWI arrest without actually driving. A car doesn’t need to move, only that a drunk driver is in a position to restrain or regulate the vehicle’s movements.
Here is a brief rundown of Missouri’s laws regarding driving while intoxicated.
Blood Alcohol Level Limits
There is also an enhanced penalty for excessive blood alcohol content above the legal limit of 0.15 or higher.
Minors who haven’t reached the legal drinking age of 21 are subject to a lower BAC level of 0.02. This policy is referred to as the zero-tolerance law.
Varying Criminal Penalties
DWI in Missouri carries varying criminal penalties for every charge regarding the severity of an offense. This is based on the BAC level and the number of prior convictions an individual was subject to.
The minimum jail time for a person with 0.15 to 0.2 BAC is 48 hours, while a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than 0.2 is five days.
People with previous alcohol-related traffic offense are susceptible to a longer jail time. The minimum jail time for individuals with one prior conviction is ten days.
Suspension or Revocation of Driver’s License
Any driver convicted of a DWI in Missouri automatically gets suspended or revoked driving privileges. If a driver is arrested for an alcohol-related driving offense with an excessive blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher, the Missouri Department of Revenue will have their license suspended. If the driver doesn’t request an administrative hearing within 15 days, the suspension goes into effect automatically.
However, you may be eligible to request an instant restricted driving privilege to drive for 90 days but with an Ignition Interlock Device.
Test Refusal and Implied Consent
Missouri DWI laws on implied consent require that drivers submit to a blood or breath test or perform field sobriety tests if a law enforcement officer requests. Those who refuse will have their driving privileges revoked for a year. There are also reinstatement requirements, including installing an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for at least six months.
Bear in mind these consequences are not the same as those a driver will face in case of a DWI conviction and can be enforced in addition to other license limitations.
Missouri DWI Penalties
Being convicted of a DWI has serious repercussions that can impact your life in many ways. That is why you need to turn to a DWI attorney in Rogersville, MO, to help you fight the charges against you.
Losing a DWI case is never something you would wish for, as the penalties are very severe and may significantly impact your life for a long time. So, it’s possible to avoid all this by playing your part as a driver by avoiding drunk driving.
Typical Penalty for DWI in Missouri
Here are what the potential sentences generally involve:
Missouri First Offense DWI
- A fine of up to $500
- Jail time of 6 months
- A license suspension of 90 days, but eligible for restricted driving privileges after 30 days
- An ignition interlock restriction on license reinstatement for not less than six months
Second DWI Offense
A second DWI includes:
- A fine of up to $1000
- One year of jail time
- 1 to 5 years driver’s license revocation
- An ignition interlock restriction on license reinstatement for not less than six months
- Must complete a substance abuse treatment program before driver’s license is reinstated
Third DWI Offense
A third DWI offense includes:
- A fine of up to $5000
- Five years of jail time
- A 10-year driver’s license revocation
- Must complete a substance abuse program before driver’s license is reinstated
- Ignition restriction on license reinstatement for not less than six months
How to Beat a Missouri DWI Charge
There are several ways one can beat the DWI charges. This is made possible by identifying legal flaws in the evidence needed for conviction. These include:
Inaccurate Breathalyzer/BAC Tests
You can challenge the accuracy of the breathalyzer or BAC test results if there are inconsistencies. This may occur when the testing device is not properly calibrated or the test was administered incorrectly.
Police Report Errors
You can also dispute the information provided in the police report. Maybe there were errors made by the law enforcement officer, like a miscalculation of your BAC level, or you weren’t read your Miranda rights.
Medical Conditions May Interfere
Even medical conditions may interfere with the accuracy of the results. For instance, some drugs, like antidepressants, can cause false readings.
Improper Police Procedures
The arresting officer may have failed to comply with specific state rules. This does not necessarily mean they are lying, but the failure to follow procedures can be interpreted as suppressing evidence.
This demonstrates that the prosecution has its share of downfalls, which you can use to your advantage. Contacting a DWI attorney to help you build your defense is also advisable.
What to Do When Arrested for Driving While Intoxicated
When arrested for DWI in Missouri, it is essential to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. You must also be mindful of your rights and remain calm when interacting with the police. Here is what you should do:
- Ask for an attorney before answering any questions from law enforcement
- Remain polite and don’t physically resist arrest
- Don’t admit guilt or provide any information that could be used against you in court
- Do not refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood test if requested by the police
A DWI arrest is a stressful situation that can have long-term consequences. Therefore, working with an experienced DWI attorney in Missouri who can help you fight your case is essential. A qualified lawyer will identify any mistakes law enforcement makes and develop a strong defense strategy.
Most importantly, remember the importance of avoiding drinking and driving in the first place. This is the best way to keep yourself out of trouble and avoid the consequences of a DWI charge. Also, never lend your car to someone with too much to drink. This will protect you if they are pulled over for DUI and your vehicle is confiscated as evidence. Making wise choices can help you stay safe on the roads.
Basics of Missouri DWI Cases
Driving While Intoxicated means that a driver is being charged with a serious offense that endangered themselves and other people. It includes operating a car under the influence of alcohol or being under drugs — even for legal prescription and over-the-counter medication.
Driving While Intoxicated means that a driver is charged with a serious offense that endangered themselves and others. It includes operating a car under the influence of alcohol or being under drugs — even for legal prescription and over-the-counter medication.
Missouri’s legal limit for a driver’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08%. If you take a Breathalyzer test and your BAC level is higher than this number, you can be arrested and charged with a DWI offense. There are also harsher penalties for drivers with an even higher BAC level of 0.15%.
Consequences for getting pulled over and charged with DWI for the first time (a Class B misdemeanor) can be very severe, including jail time, fines, loss of license, or a combination of all three. There is also the possibility that the driver may be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicle before they are allowed to drive again.
It is important to know that in Missouri, a DWI charge can also apply to drivers operating any type of motor vehicle, including commercial motor vehicles. That means if you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), such as a truck or bus driver, and you get charged with alcohol-related offense, then your license could be suspended.
Missouri DWI Convictions
In most instances, a DWI conviction will always appear on your Missouri driver record as a misdemeanor or a felony. The first and second DWI convictions are considered misdemeanors.
The defining factor of a misdemeanor classification is a possible jail time of a year or less, fines of $1000, and a court-ordered license suspension ranging from a few months to a year.
A DWI becomes a felony when an individual has two or more prior DWI convictions. The consequences are usually severe; it includes very high fines, long-term jail time, and longer license suspensions.
How Long Does Average DWI Case Take in Missouri?
An average DWI case in Missouri will probably take two to six months to conclude. All these depend on the complexity of your case and the attorney’s schedule.
MO DWI Records
If you have been charged with a DWI in Missouri, it will likely be available to anyone who needs it through public records research. Missouri guarantees public access to government records, including arrest records, court actions, police reports, criminal records, and jail and inmate records
How Long Does a DWI Stay on Your Driving Record in Missouri?
If you are convicted of a DWI in Missouri, your DWI convictions will remain on your criminal record indefinitely, regardless of the reasons behind your arrest. A driver convicted of a first-time DUI can expunge a DUI/DWI conviction after ten years of it being on their record. However, an expungement is only available to eligible persons once in a lifetime.
Consult an Attorney for Legal Advice
Whether a first-time or repeat offender, a DWI attorney is essential to your defense. Their expertise and knowledge about the law will help you fight your case and understand the possible outcomes in Missouri.
Depending on the specifics of your case, consider getting yourself an experienced DWI attorney to offer you legal help. Contact a DWI lawyer in Springfield, MO, to negotiate or prevent a DWI conviction from going on your record.