Your Complete Guide to the Legal Alcohol Limit in Missouri

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Non-commercial drivers over 21 with a blood alcohol level of.08 are legally drunk while commercial drivers are legally drunk at 0.04% or higher. If you’re facing a DUI charge, contact the Ozarks DWI Law Clinic today.

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Legal Alcohol Limit in Missouri

Chances are, you wouldn’t want to deliberately drive under the influence of alcohol to get a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge. Many people are unaware of how many drinks it takes them to exceed the legal limit of alcohol in Missouri.

Before drinking and driving home, you might want to become more informed about Missouri DWI laws. Otherwise, you could be in a situation where you are subject to criminal penalties. Knowing the legal limit guidelines can help avoid drunk driving charges and criminal records.

If you are arrested and want to avoid a DWI conviction, consulting a skilled attorney experienced with Missouri DWI laws is a significant first step. Contact Ozarks DWI Law Clinic to schedule an initial consultation and get started on the strategy for your defense.

Missouri Alcohol Laws

Missouri DWI laws were created to protect people from being injured or killed by impaired drivers.

Sometimes drivers are arrested for DUI when pulled over for common traffic violations in Missouri. In other scenarios, they are apprehended when they attempt to go through one of the scheduled DWI checkpoints in Missouri.

As per Missouri law, even if a person doesn’t appear intoxicated but whose blood alcohol level is at least 0.08%, they are driving illegally. They are considered unfit to operate a motor vehicle and are subject to criminal charges.

Whether the police officers arrested you after you failed field sobriety tests, chemical tests, or an elevated BAC test, you could be prosecuted and convicted.

What Is the Legal Drinking Limit for Drivers in Missouri?


Most Missouri drivers are within legal limits if they have a blood alcohol content (B.A.C.) lesser than 0.08%. Some drivers, however, are subject to a stricter blood alcohol limit along with more severe consequences. For example, underage drivers face stricter regulations.


Underage Drivers

According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, the legal drinking age is 21, and the acceptable B.A.C of any driver under 21 is 0.02%.

One of the laws for underage drunk driving states that a person under the age of 21 could suffer a driving license suspension for 90 days for a first offense related to the following:

  • Alcohol-related traffic offenses
  • Operating a motor vehicle while using or in possession of a controlled substance
  • Altering or modifying their driver’s license


Commercial Drivers

Commercial drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04% or more can be charged and penalized for a DWI.

Getting a second DWI conviction could result in permanent disqualification of their commercial driver’s license resulting in their inability to drive commercial vehicles. This restriction could significantly impact their ability to earn a living from driving commercial motor vehicles.

What Are the Penalties for DUI in Missouri?

The Missouri DUI penalties increase with the number of prior convictions the driver has received. The consequences of a DWI conviction in Missouri are as follows:

First Conviction

DWI Missouri first offense results in a fine of up to $500, jail time of up to six months, or even a 90-day driver’s license suspension. Drivers may be eligible for a restricted driving privilege after 30 days if they install an ignition interlock device enabling them to drive to specified locations like school or work.


Second Conviction

A second DUI conviction within five years results in a fine of up to $1,000, jail time of up to one year, and a one-year driver’s license revocation. You may also receive a 5-year license suspension.

Third Conviction

A third DWI within five years could receive much more severe consequences. The driver would be deemed a “persistent offender” and receive a fine of up to $10,000, jail time of up to four years, and license suspension for 10 years. You will be required to install an ignition interlock device for at least 6 months if your license is eligible for reinstatement after the 10-year period.


Fourth Conviction

Upon a fourth DUI within five years, the driver is deemed an “aggravated offender” and receives a fine of up to $10,000, prison time of up to seven years (or up to 1 year in county jail), and license suspension for 10 years. Depending on each of the previous conviction’s details, the offender could be ineligible to apply for a license reinstatement after ten years.


Fifth and Subsequent Convictions

A person committing a fifth or subsequent offense will be deemed a “chronic offender.” They will face prison time of up to 10 years. Moreover, their driver’s license will be revoked for 10 years, and they may be permanently ineligible to apply for reinstatement.

In addition to losing their driver’s license and suffering fines and possible jail time, those convicted of a DWI also face long-term consequences. These include a criminal record and points on their driving record, resulting in higher insurance rates.

Will Your License Be Suspended Immediately After a DUI in Missouri?

In Missouri, the effective date for the suspension of licenses of drivers whose BAC is over the legal limit is 15 days after the arrest or 15 days from the day the decision of the hearing is mailed by the Department of Revenue.

The driver may petition the circuit court to restore their driving privilege if a suspension or revocation order is passed in the administrative hearing.

Otherwise, they will have to cease driving. In some cases, the court may order other stipulations or reinstatement requirements to be completed, such as installing an ignition interlock device or completing a drug and alcohol program.

Ignition Interlock Device

The court may require additional requirements before someone can legally resume driving after a DWI conviction. These often include the mandatory use of an ignition interlock device (IID). An IID may be required to be installed for the following purposes:

  • Reinstatement of your driving license

  • Issuance of limited driving privilege

  • Issuance of restricted driving privilege points (alcohol)


Can You Reduce the Consequences of DWI? Contact Ozarks DWI Law Clinic!

Suppose you have a DWI Missouri case that involves drug testing or navigating the process of securing a limited driving privilege permit. In that case, having the support of a skilled law firm can be beneficial.

Contacting an experienced DWI lawyer in Springfield can also be helpful to reduce the legal consequences and administrative penalties of drinking and driving.

Attorneys from the Ozarks DWI Law Clinic can provide additional information and advice. They can review your case and determine what type of criminal defense strategy suits your situation.

Contact Ozarks DWI Law Clinic to schedule a free consultation for your DWI legal matters today!