What to Know if You Face a Charge for DWI Missouri First Offense
A first-offense DWI in Missouri can bring harsh consequences to your personal and professional life. Learn everything you need to know here.
What You Should Know About DWI Missouri First Offense Charges
In most states, including Missouri, DWI is a misdemeanor punishable by law, and a first-offense DWI is charged as a Class B misdemeanor. Missouri DWI laws are stringent, and if you are caught driving while intoxicated, you may end up facing severe criminal charges. A conviction could result in high fines, jail time, or even driver’s license suspension, even if this is your first offense.
What Is the Penalty for DWI in Missouri?
It is important to note that the jail period increases with each DWI offense. Since a first offense DWI is charged as a Class B misdemeanor, the maximum jail time a convicted person can face is up to 6 months or a fine of up to $500. If a judge chooses to suspend the sentence, the convicted person will be forced to complete two years of probation or, at times, a court-ordered substance abuse treatment.
First Offense DWI Missouri Jail Time for High-BAC Offenses
However, if this is your first offense and you were pulled over for driving while intoxicated and the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is found to be 0.15% or more, the DWI penalties against you will be severe. If you meet this legal limit, the penalty for your DWI conviction will include a minimum of 48 hours of jail time.
For a blood alcohol content of at least 0.20%, you will be sentenced to at least five days in jail.
Missouri DWI Sentencing Guidelines First Offense
The following is the definition of DWI under Missouri law: A person in Missouri is driving while intoxicated if he operates a private or commercial motor vehicle while intoxicated or drugged.
Driving while intoxicated is categorized as a Class B misdemeanor. No persons who have been convicted or at least have pleaded guilty shall be granted a suspended imposition of sentence unless the person is put on probation for the next two years.
Missouri sentencing guidelines for DWI further state that no person who operates a vehicle with an excessive blood alcohol content of 0.15% or more shall be granted a suspended imposition of sentence. The jail period of such a person is 48 hours, as mentioned.
Missouri DWI Statute of Limitations
In Missouri, the statute of limitations starts the day after the offense. The prosecution has a maximum of one year to file charges for a misdemeanor DWI offense, while felony crimes have a three-year statute of limitations.
First DWI Offense Costs in Missouri
The costs of a DWI will vary significantly for all first offenses. The following is a quick breakdown of the various costs you could face with a first offense DWI in Missouri.
Fines (Up to $500)
According to Missouri law, if this is your first offense, you will be fined a maximum of $500 for driving while intoxicated. The fine of up to $500 is not the only punishment issued; this will also be followed by six months of county jail time.
Court Costs (Up to $100 or more)
From simple speeding tickets to those complicated DWI felony criminal charges, there will always be court costs associated with the type of case. These court costs are paid once the court hearings are done, and the court has issued the DWI criminal penalties against you. These fees are typically under $100, but more complex cases can carry heavier fees.
Probation Fees (Up to $600)
Most probation terms issued by a Missouri DWI court are primarily for a maximum period of 2 years. The person accused of driving in an intoxicated condition is supervised by a probation officer, who will be paid at the end of the two-year session.
Substance Abuse Traffic Offender’s Program (Varies Between $500-$1300)
According to Missouri DWI law, you will automatically get your driving license suspended once you are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI). Not only will you be fined or put on probation, but you will be required to visit the Department of Revenue to renew your driver’s license after suspension or revocation. There are a few Substance Abuse Traffic Offenders Programs (SATOP) that you can be placed into. The cost varies based on the level of the offense and the program you are in.
Criminal defense attorneys also need to be paid for the defense of one’s alcohol-related driving offense. A Missouri DWI charge is very complicated, with many delicate details that need to be handled by an experienced DWI attorney. Since attorneys do not work for free, they will need to be paid once the case has been finalized.
The total cost of representation varies depending on the type of case and the lawyer’s experience. However, you get exactly what you pay for. Having a skilled DWI attorney on your side can help reduce the cost of your DWI in other ways.
Total Minimum Cost For First Offense DWI Missouri
Looking at the DWI penalties, fines, probation, SATOP, and attorney fees, the total cost of a first offense is typically a minimum of $2500. This means that an $8 bottle of vodka will cost you a lot more if you get behind the wheel.
How to Get Out of a DWI in Court as a First-Time Offender in the State of Missouri
When you are pulled over by law enforcement for field sobriety tests, and they find you drunk driving and charge you for an alcohol-related traffic offense, you are innocent until the prosecuting attorney finds you guilty. Once a DWI arrest has been issued, you will need a reasonable DWI attorney to help you with your criminal case and help you get out of a DWI in court.
One of the most effective ways to beat a DWI charge is identifying legal flaws on any key evidence required for a DWI conviction. Possible defenses include an inaccurate chemical test, no probable cause for the DWI stop, errors of dishonesty in the arresting officer’s testimony, medical conditions, and many more. Your DWI lawyer can use this to fight your DWI charge and maintain your driving record and driving privileges.
At the court hearing, there is always an officer from the Department of Revenue who oversees the proceedings, the arresting officer, and any witness he may have. These are the people your attorney will look out for to help you get out of a DWI in court.
Arguments, motions, and objections are ways that first-time offenders can fight DWI charges and help them get out of court. An experienced DWI lawyer can maneuver around this and help you accordingly.
Consult an Experienced DUI Attorney in Missouri to Represent Your Case
If this is your first offense in an alcohol-related offense, numerous possible defenses can be raised to protect your Constitutional rights. That is why you need the experienced lawyers from Ozarks DWI Law Clinic by your side to beat those DWI charges. We have handled countless Missouri DWI cases, allowing our clients to pick up the pieces of their lives after a DWI arrest.
Be sure to turn to us if you ever find yourself facing DWI charges. When you reach out to our law office for a free consultation, we’ll listen to your story attentively and help you begin constructing a solid defense.