To find a qualified DUI or DWI Attorney to help fight your drunk driving case in Missouri, please click on the city in which you reside, or call 1-800-420-9444, or fill out the case evaluation form on this page and an attorney in your area will contact you immediately.
Missouri DWI Quick Facts
BAC Level: .08%
Important Notice to Anyone Arrested for DWI in Missouri
Time is of the essence. The state of Missouri allows anyone arrested for DWI to request an administrative hearing within 15 days of their arrest. Your right to request this hearing is critical to minimizing the potential damage that the arrest has on your life. At an administrative hearing, you and your attorney will have a chance to review the facts of your arrest with a representative of the state and dispute certain issues regarding how the arrest was conducted. Raising these disputes can result in lowering or eliminating the length of your driver’s license suspension. If you do not schedule an administrative hearing, your driver’s license will be suspended for the maximum time allowed by law. Therefore it is crucial that you contact an experienced Missouri DWI lawyer promptly and get your administrative hearing scheduled before time runs out.
Consequences of a DWI Conviction in Missouri
Unfortunately, being arrested and convicted for DWI in Missouri carries with it a significant amount of consequences. Here are the most important ones that you need to know about:
Driver’s License Suspension
When you abuse the privileges granted in your driver’s license by drinking and driving, the state penalizes you by taking away your license. Your first conviction will lead to a suspension of 1 month, while subsequent convictions can lead to suspensions lasting 10 years. While your license is suspended, you will have to rely on public transportation, ride sharing or some other form of transportation for travel. Being caught driving while your license is suspended for a DWI conviction carries with it very harsh penalties.
The DWI laws of Missouri authorize a significant amount of jail time for even your first DWI conviction. The court can order up to 6 months in prison upon your conviction. Subsequent offenses will result in prison terms of up to 4 years. Usually the court will order much less than the maximum jail time for your first offense if the circumstances of your arrest warrant it. Being arrested for a BAC level of .08 while driving somewhat normally will result in a much more lenient sentence than being arrested with a BAC level of .15 where you caused an accident.
A DWI conviction in Missouri also brings with it a large monetary fine. Your first DWI conviction can cost you up to $500. Additional convictions can result in fines up to $5000. As with other penalties connected to DWI, the court will administer a punishment within the range allowed by law depending on the circumstances of your arrest. The more recklessness and endangerment of other people there was, the more severe your penalties will be.
Ignition Interlock Devices
If you are convicted of DWI for the first time, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. This device will require you to take an alcohol breath test each time you wish to start your car; if you test above the legal limit, your car will not start. Installing and maintaining these devices are costly as well as inconvenient, and the results of all your tests are recorded and reported to the court.
Felony Conviction on your Record
Repeat convictions for DWI in Missouri will result in a felony conviction on your record. Being a convicted felon carries with it significant consequences that will last the rest of your life. These include difficulty finding employment, revocation of professional licenses, social stigmatization, lack of credibility in future legal proceedings, potential loss of voting rights and more. No state hands out felony convictions lightly, but you should be aware of that possibility if you become a repeat DWI offender.
Increased Cost of Automobile Insurance
Even one DWI conviction can dramatically increase your cost of carrying auto insurance. Depending on the severity of the conditions of your arrest, as well as the internal policies of your auto insurance provider, you may find your policy cancelled. Whether you stay with your current provider or are forced to find a new one, you will certainly have to pay a greater premium than you previously did. Furthermore, the state of Missouri may force you to carry SR-22 insurance. Under such policies, your insurance provider is required to regularly certify to the state that you are still carrying your auto insurance. This additional service will further increase the cost of your policy.
Consequences of Refusing a Chemical Test in Missouri
The DWI laws of Missouri allow law enforcement officers to subject you to chemical tests to determine if you have been driving while under the influence of a drug, so long as they have just cause. While you are free to refuse a test, such a refusal is not without consequences. Missouri law requires that your driver’s license be suspended for 12 months the first time you refuse a chemical test.
Why You Should Seek Legal Help
Being arrested for DWI in Missouri brings about serious, life-changing consequences. It is important to seek qualified, experienced legal help in order to reduce or eliminate these consequences.
Many people believe that they have no chance of winning in court, that their DWI arrest is a simple open-and-shut case, and that they shouldn’t waste their time and money on a DWI attorney. Unfortunately this understandable but misguided notion has caused many people untold suffering that they could have avoided.
In order for the state of Missouri to convict you of DWI and impose the full penalties allowed by law, the arresting officer and the government must correctly follow a long list of established rules and procedures. These rules and procedures are there to protect your rights and insure that the government has not overstepped its bounds. If they are not followed correctly, it will be possible to reduce or eliminate the penalties of your DWI.
Some important areas where these rules and procedures must be followed are the police officer’s initial reason for pulling you over, the field sobriety tests they conduct, and the administration of the chemical test. What challenges you can mount to the state’s case depend on the particulars of your arrest. Every case is different.
Wouldn’t I Save Money And Hassle By Just Pleading Guilty?
It seems logical to assume that it would just be cheaper and easier to plead guilty to your DWI charge. But as we’ve already shown above, the penalties for DWI in Missouri are severe and expensive. Once you factor in the non-monetary impact a DWI conviction will have on your life, it’s plain to see that there’s nothing cheap and easy when it comes to a DWI.
Hiring a Missouri DWI Attorney to defend you and your rights can often reduce or sometimes even eliminate the penalties that the state would otherwise impose on you automatically. At the very least, it is worth having a conversation with a qualified DWI attorney to see if they think you could challenge your arrest.
The bottom line is, when you are arrested for DWI in Missouri, you are in for a struggle that’s going to be burdensome and expensive. But in many cases, a qualified DWI attorney can go a long ways towards reducing these expenses and burdens.
Missouri DWI Penalties