DWI Missouri: What You Need to Know

Have you been charged with a DWI? Missouri takes driving while intoxicated very seriously. This guide covers everything you need to know.

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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 while under the influence of 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 alcohol-related traffic offense, consider contacting a DWI lawyer for legal advice and assistance.

 

Missouri DWI Laws Overview

 

Here is a brief rundown of the laws under driving while intoxicated in Missouri.

Blood Alcohol Level Limits

In Missouri, there is a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit. If a driver’s BAC reaches 0.08, they are likely to be convicted.

There is also an enhanced penalty for having a blood alcohol concentration 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.

For a person with 0.15 to 0.2 BAC, the minimum jail time is 48 hours, while a BAC of more than 0.2 is five days.

People who have previous alcohol and driving-related convictions are susceptible to a longer jail time. For individuals with one prior conviction, the minimum jail time is ten days.

 

Suspension or Revocation of Driver’s License

Any driver convicted of a DWI in the state of Missouri automatically gets suspended or revoked driving privileges.

However, you may be eligible to request an instant restricted driving privilege to drive for 90 days but with an Ignition Interlock Device.

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 very 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:

 

First DWI Offense

A Missouri first offense DWI is a class B misdemeanor. The penalties include:

  • 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 offense includes:

  • A fine of up to $1000
  • One year 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 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 certain state rules. This does not necessarily mean they are lying, but the failure to follow procedures can be interpreted as suppression of evidence.

This demonstrates that the prosecution has its share of downfalls, which you can use to your advantage. It is also advisable to contact a DWI attorney to help you build your defense.

 

What to Do When Arrested for Driving While Intoxicated

It’s crucial to know what to do when you get arrested for DWI in Missouri before making any hasty moves. First, it’s always a good idea to consider contacting a DWI attorney for legal help. An experienced DWI attorney will help you understand what the law entails and explain any possible defenses you might have.

 

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.

Missouri DWI Convictions

In most instances, a DWI conviction will always appear on your 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 top-out at $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.

 

Missouri 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 it 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 an important part of 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. Make sure to contact a DWI lawyer in Springfield, MO, to negotiate or prevent a DWI conviction from going on your record.