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 criminal penalties. These include longer driver’s license suspensions, higher fines, and lengthier prison sentences, among other penalties.
If you’ve been accused of aggravated DWI in Missouri, it is critical to work with an aggravated DWI lawyer. 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 that you may need in your case.
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 he or she acts criminally negligent and causes physical 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 considered an aggravating factor. It is a crime 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: one for aggravated driving and the other for a felony child endangerment (Missouri Statute 568.045).
What Makes Aggravated DWI a Felony?
An aggravated DWI is different 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 that can carry a prison sentence 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 offense.
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 who are deemed habitual DWI offenders are usually charged with a Class B felony, chronic offender.
Penalties for Aggravated DWI
The penalties imposed will typically be dependent on the type of aggravated DWI one is convicted with and if they have prior convictions of driving while ability impaired.
Fourth DWI Offense in Missouri
In Missouri, a 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 very rare and often, the driver must serve a minimum of two years in prison in order 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, it is critical to hire a trustworthy DWI lawyer as soon as possible.
If you have been charged with an aggravated DWI, contact the Ozarks DWI Law Clinic for assistance. We have attorneys well versed in DWI in Missouri who have worked on many 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 record all add up. Also, insurance rates may be dramatically increased. It is possible that 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 less than .15% and a minor as a passenger, you will be subjected to screening for substance dependency and abuse. If an assessment determines that one requires treatment for drug or alcohol dependency or abuse, they will have to complete treatment, which is one of the conditions to be fulfilled before they are granted probationary terms.
- Victim Impact Program – In some states, DWI offenders need to attend a victim impact program (VIP). An offender must attend 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, it is important to hire an experienced DWI attorney and establish an attorney-client relationship as soon as you are charged.
At the Ozarks DWI Law Clinic, we have an experienced attorney for DWI cases who has been working 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 what is referred to as per se BAC limit under DWI laws. The state of Missouri has also set laws that impose enhanced penalties for aggravated DWI which includes 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.
Aggravated DWI Attorney in Missouri
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 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 team at Ozarks DWI Law Clinic has helped past clients avoid the harsh consequences of conviction including license revocation, community service, prison sentences, and high fines.