Everything You Need to Know About Missouri DWI Laws
Understanding Missouri DWI laws is crucial to protecting your rights on the road. Here’s what you need to know.
The Basics of Missouri DWI Laws
Driving while intoxicated has contributed to the growing number of car accidents on the road in recent decades, consequently leading to the loss of many lives and other life-changing consequences.
Due to this reason, numerous DWI laws have been enacted in Missouri, which serve the primary purpose of eliminating or reducing car accidents on the road. The DWI laws are also meant to protect every road user and motorist’s rights.
The Missouri DWI Statute
Driving under the influence in Missouri is defined as driving while intoxicated or driving with excessive blood alcohol content (BAC) by the statutes of Missouri.
The Revised Statutes of Missouri describe an intoxicated or drugged condition as being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any other controlling substance that leads to impaired judgment.
Also, when a person is charged with a crime of operating a motor vehicle with an excessive blood content, the motorist would have had a BAC that is higher than 0.08.
There is no difference between the DWI statutes for alcohol and drug impairment in Missouri. Therefore, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs is also incorporated in the DWI statute.
Missouri DUI Checkpoint Laws
Missouri has authorized law enforcement officials to put up DUI checkpoints on roads. These checkpoints usually are set up on busy roads. The authorized officers will stop any motor vehicle that comes by or use other systematized methods to stop cars randomly.
This system asks motorists to submit a blood or breath test if the officers suspect the driver is impaired. Under Missouri’s implied consent law, failing to comply with this may lead to a driver being charged with a DUI crime or losing their driver’s license.
If you are charged with any alcohol-related traffic offense, it’s essential to seek legal advice from a DWI lawyer for assistance.
Your Rights at a DUI Checkpoint
If you happen to get arrested at a DUI checkpoint, you must show your driver’s license, registration, and other documentation as requested by the officials.
However, you have a right to remain silent if asked any questions. As much as you must be courteous and calm, it’s advisable to give little or no information to the police officers.
It’s also your right as a motorist to politely decline from doing the sobriety tests as requested by a law enforcement officer.
But it’s crucial to note that failure to submit a breathalyzer test may cause you to face possible Missouri DWI penalties such as driver’s license suspension or revocation. This is exceptional if you have a DWI attorney that can later prove that the officers had no cause to suspect you were intoxicated or in a drugged condition.
Ultimately, the arresting officer is not obliged to search your vehicle without your consent at a DUI checkpoint regardless of whether they suspect you could have evidence of a crime in your car.
DWI Laws in Missouri
Missouri DWI laws prohibit all motorists from operating or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level that is over the legal limit or while in an intoxicated condition.
List of DWI Laws in Missouri
The Missouri laws of drunk driving include:
- Blood alcohol level limits.
- Suspension or revocation of driver’s license.
- Implied consent to alcohol and drug testing.
Blood Alcohol Concentration Limits
A driver can face a DWI conviction if their BAC reaches 0.08. Missouri law allows for an enhanced penalty for any motorist with a BAC of 0.15 or more. Any minor or young adult who hasn’t reached the legal drinking age is subjected to a BAC level of 0.02.
Administrative Penalties and License Suspensions
The Missouri Department of Revenue may suspend/revoke your license if you break the Missouri DWI law.
One is subject to a license suspension of ninety days for a first offense DWI. For the second DWI offense, one is subject to receive a one-year driver’s license suspension, and for the third offense DWI, a driver can face even more years of license suspension.
Drivers of a commercial motor vehicle convicted of a DWI offense are also subjected to receive two points on their Missouri driving record and get their license suspended for a year.
New Missouri DWI Laws
In recent years, several changes have been made to the law regarding alcohol-related driving offense convictions. Your charges’ severity and consequences all depend on several factors, but a significant element to consider is whether you have had any prior convictions in your records.
The Missouri DWI Laws Changes
For a Class B misdemeanor offense, one can face a jail time of up to six months—license suspension for thirty days and fines of up to $1,000 or other penalties.
For a Class A misdemeanor, the jail time is one year with fines of up to $2,000, a license suspension of up to one year, or further penalties. However, if a person is injured while driving under the influence, they will likely be charged with a Class E felony.
What Is the Penalty for DWI in Missouri?
Being convicted of a DUI has severe repercussions that can affect your life in several ways. Having an experienced DWI attorney is very important as they can apply their extensive skills and experience to minimize the penalties to the fullest possible extent.
First DWI Offense
The Missouri first offense DWI is a Class B misdemeanor. A person with a 0.15-0.2 blood alcohol content can face a minimum jail time of about 48 hours.
The maximum jail time for a first offense is usually six months with a fine of $500. Those given alcohol and driving-related convictions are subjected to more time in jail, and for prior DWI convictions, the minimum jail time is ten days.
Second DWI Offense
For a second Missouri DWI offense, one is likely to face jail time of up to one year, a fine of $2,000, and a year of license suspension or revocation. Additionally, one can get five years of revocation if the prior offense was within five years of the current violation. The minimum time for an ignition interlock requirement is six months.
Third DWI Offense
For a third-time offense, one is likely to face a jail time of up to four years, a fine of $10,000, and a license suspension or revocation for ten years. The minimum time for getting an ignition interlock device requirement is six months.
Fourth DWI Offense
A fourth-time DUI offense is a Class C felony. The “aggravated offender” can get seven years in jail or one year in county jail. The offender will also have to pay a minimum fine of $5,000 plus court fees. The license suspension or revocation is ten years.
What is the Legal Limit for an Underage Driver in Missouri?
When it comes to minors being charged with DWI offenses, the law considers the driver’s age and the blood alcohol concentration.
For those under 21 years, a BAC of 0.02 is considered intoxicated, while in the case of drivers over 21 years, a BAC of 0.08 is enough to get a minor in the state of Missouri arrested for DWI.
If you are under 21 years, the first offense of Missouri’s “zero tolerance” law will result in a 30-day suspension of driving privileges. A second offense will revoke driving privileges for 90 days, and third and subsequent offenses will result in restricted driving privileges for one year.
A person under 21 with a BAC of 0.08% or higher will face the same penalties as a person above 21 with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.
Can You Get Out of a DWI in Missouri?
When faced with a DWI charge, the best way to fight against it is by hiring an experienced DWI attorney. They will provide thorough legal advice and guide you through the process. Some of the ways a person can get out of a DWI charge are as follows:
- Withdrawing from the chemical test. The police officer cannot force you to take a chemical test. If the motorist can prove that they were forced into taking this test or that the test was not a breathalyzer, they will be able to withdraw from the test.
- Showing that your driving was not impaired in any way. If the motorist could come up with proof of alternative methods of transportation or that they had not been drinking, it would help get the charges dismissed.
- Being found guilty of a different charge. Because Missouri has various degrees of DWI offenses, it may turn out that the motorist was actually guilty of a different offense, not a DWI.
In Missouri, DWI is considered a severe offense, and it usually results in severe penalties. To evade all the harsh penalties and fines from DWI charges and convictions, it’s best to adhere to the Missouri DWI laws.
However, mistakes happen, so if you face charges for DWI crimes, you should contact an experienced DWI lawyer for assistance.