Have you been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Missouri? Both of these terms are used to describe a very serious offense: driving while impaired due to the influence of alcohol or drugs. Depending on the severity of the crime and the number of times you have committed this offense in the past, you could lose your license, be forced to pay extravagant fines, or even face years of prison time. To be sure that you understand what you’re up against, review the DUI and DWI laws in Missouri along with the penalties that go along with these offenses.
DUI and DWI Laws in Missouri
In the state of Missouri, you are deemed to be driving while intoxicated (DWI) if you are driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more. However, a BAC of 0.04% or more is illegal if you drive a commercial vehicle, and a BAC of 0.02% or more is illegal if you are under the age of 21. In addition, the circumstances of your offense, as viewed by the arresting officer or judge, may result in a DWI even if you are below the BAC limits but are impaired by drugs.
First, know that if you are over the BAC limit, both criminal law and administrative law will apply. Criminal law deals with being charged with a crime; this department will add points to your driver record and suspend or revoke your license if necessary and will include fines, incarceration, or both. To learn more about Missouri’s point system, visit the Department of Revenue’s Tickets and Points FAQ page. Administrative law focuses on the BAC test; if you are over the limit or refuse to take the test, your driving privilege may be suspended or revoked and you could face additional penalties.
The penalties for a driving while intoxicated offense are substantial. Not only could the first offense result in fines or incarceration but also license suspension, fees for reinstatement, increased insurance, and ignition interlock device. Multiple convictions depending on time frame and number will result in a suspension of a driver’s license for five to ten years depending on circumstances.
Act fast at this stage of the process, because you only have 15 days to file a request for an administrative hearing to get your license back. If requested, the hearing will be scheduled by the Department of Revenue. A refusal to take a submit to a test of your breathe, blood, or urine will result in a suspension one year. It requires a petition (law suit) to be filed against the Department of Revenue to challenge the suspension.
Next, in court, you will face additional penalties according to the DWI laws of Missouri. A DWI conviction in Missouri may result in required alcohol treatment and addiction evaluation programs, fines, or imprisonment. These are the typical limits for imprisonment and fines:
- 1st Offense: up to 6 months imprisonment, up to $500 in fines
- 2nd Offense: up to 1 year imprisonment, up to $1,000 in fines
- 3rd Offense: up to 4 years imprisonment, up to $5,000 in fines
- 4th Offense: up to 7 years imprisonment, up to $5,000 in fines and a mandatory minimum of 60 days in jail
- 5th Offense: up to 15 years imprisonment, and mandatory minimum of 2 years in prison
The court may also require you to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, which will test your BAC each time you want to drive and prevent the car from starting if you are over the legal limit. If you receive this penalty, you must pay for the installation and maintenance of the device as well.
If you are facing a DUI or DWI charge, you need an experienced and dedicated attorney who will stand by your side. Contact Replogle, Tyrrell, & Robertson, LLC for help. Our full-service law firm has offices in Marshfield and Springfield, Missouri, and we are committed to providing our clients with legal expertise and exceptional service. Plus, we will not charge you anything until we win your case. To get started, please give us a call at 417-893-5121 (Springfield) or 417-859-3979 (Marshfield). We look forward to hearing from you.