Missouri DWI Statute of Limitations: What You Need to Know

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The Missouri DWI statute of limitations is a law that sets the amount of time police and prosecutors have to charge a person with a DWI. Learn more here.

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Is There a Statute of Limitations on Missouri DWI Laws?

Did you know that driving while intoxicated case (DWI) can be forfeited if a lot of time is taken to initiate legal proceedings after the DWI incident? Known as a statute of limitations, a statute of limitations specifies the deadline within which legal action must be brought.

Missouri has a statute of limitations on the charge of drunk driving. During this period, the arresting law enforcement officer and the prosecution gather evidence that they will use against you.

For example, the arresting officer may conduct breathalyzer tests to determine whether your blood alcohol content is above the legal limit. They do this to make alcohol-related enforcement actions solid driving charges.

However, you can also use this opportunity to prepare a solid defense by involving a qualified DWI attorney. They will help you understand the nuances of Missouri DWI laws, your rights, and upcoming legal proceedings. This also applies to any subsequent revocations or suspensions of your Missouri driver’s license.

By familiarizing yourself with the statute of limitations, you can better understand how to handle DWI cases you may find yourself in properly. The information below will provide a comprehensive overview of Missouri’s DWI statute of limitations.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on a DWI Offense in Missouri?

Missouri law under Section § 556.036 provides statutes of limitations for different offenses. And since most DWI cases are misdemeanors, the statute of limitation is usually one year.

It can, however, be extended to three years if the DWI case is enhanced to a more severe crime.


How Is the Statute of Limitations Determined for a DWI Charge?

You must first understand its purpose to understand how the statute of limitations is determined.

A statute of limitations ensures that no one interferes with the evidence collected for a case. Its primary purpose is to ensure that suspects are charged immediately. A statute of limitations forces the prosecution to work faster to conclude the case.

A longer statute of limitations may be given for severe DWI charges to allow the prosecution to gather enough evidence.

With that in mind, the DWI statute of limitation varies from state to state. In Missouri, this period is defined by the following factors:

  • The Missouri DWI laws
  • It can also be at the discretion of the judge, who may require the case to be furnished with more evidence
  • It can also be defined by the level of seriousness the DWI case is considered to be. For example, if the case is a misdemeanor or a felony

You can contact a reputable DWI attorney if you have any questions about the DWI statute of limitations.

What Is the Law for Impaired Driving in Missouri?

Under Missouri law, a person can be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. The legal limit for a commercial motor vehicle driver is 0.04%, while the limit for persons under 21 is 0.02%.

Any person charged with a DWI or DUI conviction can face harsh penalties, including fines, jail time, an ignition interlock device installation, and revocation or suspension of their driving privilege.

If you’re a prior offender, the penalties can be even harsher. So, if you’re charged with any alcohol-related traffic offense, you must consult a qualified DWI attorney to protect your legal rights.

To protect yourself, understand the Missouri DWI laws, and prepare a strong defense by seeking the legal advice of an experienced attorney from the Ozarks DWI Law Clinic. With the help of an experienced legal professional, you can better understand your rights and how to handle DWI cases in Missouri.

Is a DWI a Felony or a Misdemeanor Under Missouri Law?

Missouri DWI laws provide classes under section § 577.010 for misdemeanors and Felonies. Here are the classes:

Misdemeanor DWI

A misdemeanor is a more severe crime than an administrative violation but lesser than a felony.

A DWI in Missouri is considered a Class B misdemeanor. As a result, their punishments tend to be short-lived, such as shorter jail sentences and more minor fines. However, the following sentence may apply if you get arrested and blood tests show high alcohol or drug content.

  • Driving privileges may be suspended for 30 days for drivers with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) greater than 0.08% while operating a motor vehicle.
  • Getting convicted of a DWI after refusing to take a breath test will result in a driver’s license suspension for one year.
  • A person convicted of DWI may also be subjected to a court-ordered treatment program.

Your lawyer can help you get out of a DWI misdemeanor or a city ordinance violation if you have not committed any prior DWI offenses.

DWI Felony

In Missouri, if a person has been convicted of DWI or another alcohol-related driving offense at least twice, the court will consider their case a felony conviction and charge them as a prior or repeat offender. Such a person attracts alcohol-related severe enforcement actions. A felony DWI case may result in longer jail time and hefty fines.

If the DWI event resulted in the injury of another person, your case would be regarded as a Class D felony. The case is treated as a Class C felony or Class B felony if the injuries are more serious. But this will depend on the specific circumstances.

Another reason alcohol-related driving charges are escalated to DWI felony crimes is when your DWI offense results in the death of another person or people. Sometimes even causing severe injury due to drunken driving will make your DWI conviction a felony.

Getting in touch with a criminal defense lawyer to help you navigate the murky waters of felonies is essential.

How Long Can a DWI Case Stay Open in Missouri?

The nature of your DWI case will often determine how long the case remains open. For example, resolving misdemeanors could take only a few months, while a more complex case like a third DWI can take much longer.

It is common to see suspects waiting long as they await a charge against them. They can utilize that time by seeking the services of a DWI lawyer to make a proper defense for their case as they wait to be charged with DWI.


Does Missouri Have a Washout Period for DWI?

Yes. In Missouri, the court will look into your Missouri driver record to look at any prior DWI convictions in the past five years and not more than that. This is particularly useful when determining whether a DWI case escalates to a felony case or not.

Can a DWI Be Dismissed in Missouri?

Yes. Plenty of reasons could result in DWI offenses being dismissed in Missouri. Some of them include the following:

  • The statute of the limitation period to file a claim has run out

  • If the prosecution fails to provide a speedy trial

  • Dismissing certain crucial pieces of prosecution evidence with evidence.

Get in Touch With a DWI Attorney in Missouri

Suppose you are in Springfield, face a DWI charge, and are unaware of utilizing the statute of limitations to your advantage. In that case, you can contact a DWI Lawyer in Springfield who will give you legal counsel while maintaining a cordial attorney-client relationship.

A reliable DWI attorney should have the necessary knowledge and experience to provide you with sound advice regarding your case while helping you build a good defense. Your lawyer should also provide you with professional legal representation throughout the case, including in any court appearances.

Ozarks DWI Law Clinic is dedicated to helping individuals understand their rights and fight for justice. We provide legal counsel and advice while ensuring your case is handled professionally. Contact us today for a consultation regarding your DWI charge in Missouri.