DWI trials in Missouri often involve scientific evidence just like DNA evidence except in this case, it’s the chemical evidence like your blood alcohol level that could change the outcome of your case. Missouri has a DWI “per se” law, meaning that it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or greater. If you’ve been arrested in Missouri you should contact an experienced attorney right away to protect your rights.
Fighting a Missouri DWI isn’t impossible. In fact, with the help of a skilled DWI lawyer, you can get a much better outcome in your case. You don’t want to end up in jail or paying serious fines. According to Missouri DWI laws, you could spend 15 years in prison if you are a repeat offender! Talking to a DWI lawyer near you can truly save your life and your livelihood.
NOTE: Missouri drunk driving cases are commonly referred to as driving while intoxicated (DWI) when alcohol-related, or driving under the influence (DUI) where drugs are involved.
A Missouri DWI is serious. You need an experienced lawyer who understands Missouri DWI laws fighting for you. In fact, DWI cases can be as complex as murder cases! That’s because DWI trials often involve scientific evidence – just like DNA evidence – except in this case, it’s the chemical evidence (like your BAC) that could change the outcome of your case. The knowledgeable DUI LAWS attorneys are well versed in the science of DUI defense. That’s why your best bet is to reach out to one of our experienced lawyers right away.
Missouri has a DWI “per se“ law, meaning that it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or greater. If you have been arrested for a DWI or DUI, our experienced attorneys are available for a FREE consultation.
If someone is arrested for Missouri drunk driving, refusal to take a chemical test can be used as evidence in court, and also result in criminal and administrative penalties, meaning a longer driver’s license suspension.
Warning! Your license is at risk of being suspended or revoked if you do not take appropriate action within 15 days of your arrest! If you refused to take a breath, blood or urine test after being arrested for Missouri DWI, or if the results of your test were above the prohibited level (.08 percent BAC for drivers over age 21 and .02 percent BAC for drivers under age 21), then you could lose your license. It is vital that you contact an experienced DWI defense attorney as quickly as possible to protect your license.
First Offense DWI or DUI
Conviction of a first DWI is a Class B misdemeanor.
- JAIL: Up to a maximum of six (6) months imprisonment.
- FINE: Up to $500.00. Court costs may also be between $10.00 and $100.00.
- PROBATION: The general terms of probation are no drinking and driving, do not break the law, go to SATOP, etc. Probation usually lasts 2 years. A conviction plea of guilty plus the imposition of a fine and/or court costs with probation is commonly referred to as a “Suspended Execution of Sentence” or SES.
- SUSPENSION OF DRIVING PRIVILEGES: A criminal conviction of a first-time DUI results in a 30-day suspension of driving privileges followed by a 60-day restriction to driving only to and from work, in the course of employment, or to alcohol treatment. There are no hardships or exemptions available during the first 30-day period if you lose your administrative hearing. This suspension becomes a permanent part of your driving record if you do not win your appeal to the Circuit Court of the County where you are arrested. The court may also require that a person be restricted to driving a motor vehicle that has an ignition interlock device while on probation. The device costs $50.00-100.00 to install and $50.00-$75.00 per month to maintain. A conviction will result in 8 points being assessed against the driver’s license.
Second Offense DWI or DUI
Conviction of a second DWI within a five-year period is a Class A misdemeanor.
- JAIL: Up to a maximum of one year in jail.
- FINE: Up to $1,000.00, plus court costs of between $10.00 and $100.00.
- PROBATION: Only after a person has served a mandatory minimum of 48 hours of incarceration are they eligible for probation. The jail requirement may be waived in lieu of the length of community service. The terms of probation are standard: no breaking the law, no drinking and driving, no going to places where alcohol is served, attend SATOP, etc. Court-ordered AA meetings, outpatient treatment, or inpatient treatment programs are also a possibility. Probation will be for a two-year period.
- REVOCATION OF DRIVER’S LICENSE: A criminal conviction of a second-time DWI within 5 years results in a five (5) year revocation of driving privileges. A hardship license may not be applied for until 2 of the 5-year revocation have been served. This assumes that you are not otherwise ineligible (e.g., on both occasions, you refused the test). This revocation goes on the person’s driving record. Twelve points are also assessed against the driver’s license regardless of how old the first DWI conviction was. The court must also require that a person be restricted to driving a motor vehicle that has an ignition interlock device while on probation. The device costs $50.00-100.00 to install and $50.00-$75.00 per month to maintain.
Third DWI or DUI Offense
A third DWI during the driver’s lifetime will result in a Class D felony charge. If convicted, if you have two prior alcohol-related convictions (BAC or DWI) on your driving record, there will also be a 10-year denial of driving privileges.
- JAIL: Up to four years in prison.
- FINE: Up to $5,000.00, plus court costs of $10.00 to $100.00.
- PROBATION: Missouri law prohibits a suspended execution of sentence for a felony DWI unless as a condition of probation, you are ordered to serve 10 days shock time in jail or 60 days of community service.
- REVOCATION OF DRIVING PRIVILEGES: Upon a third or subsequent criminal conviction for DWI or DUI, the defendant’s driver’s license is revoked for 10 years regardless of how old the two prior convictions are. These revocations or “denials” go on the person’s driving record forever. If convicted of a felony DWI or DUI, no hardship license is available.
Fourth DWI or DUI Offense
A fourth DWI arrest during the driver’s lifetime will be charged as a Class C felony. A conviction may again result in a minimum 10-year denial of driving privileges. The driver will be classified as an “aggravated offender.”
- JAIL: Up to seven years in prison.
- FINE: Up to $5,000.00, plus court costs of $10.00 to $100.00.
- PROBATION: Missouri law prohibits a suspended execution of sentence for a felony DWI. The court may suspend execution of sentence, provided that the court orders you to serve either 10 days in jail or 60 days of community service.
- REVOCATION OF DRIVING PRIVILEGES: Upon a fourth or subsequent criminal conviction for DWI or DUI, the defendant’s driver’s license may be revoked for a minimum of 10 years regardless of how old the prior convictions are. These revocations or “denials” go on the person’s driving record forever. If convicted of a felony DWI or DUI, no hardship license is available.
Missouri Implied Consent Law
According to Missouri DWI laws, if you get in a motor vehicle, you are giving your consent to have your breath, blood, urine, or other bodily substances tested for alcohol and/or drugs. This is what is called “implied consent.” You are presumed to know and understand your rights and responsibilities concerning the testing of your bodily fluids in relation to a DWI arrest.
IMPORTANT: The police officer will choose what type of test to offer. You do not get a choice in that matter. Under Missouri law, however, you are allowed 20 minutes to contact a lawyer about whether or not to submit to a test, provided that you ask to exercise that right.
You also have the right to obtain your own test of your body fluids by a physician, qualified technician, chemist, registered nurse, or another qualified person after you have submitted to the officer’s requested test.
Driver’s License Consequences
A Missouri DWI arrest actually triggers two separate cases: the criminal court case, and the driver’s license case, which is filed by the Department of Revenue against the driver’s license. Take note: if you are arrested for any drunk driving offense – DWI, you have only 15 days from the date of arrest to have a hearing.
If a Sustain Order is issued after the administrative hearing:
FIRST TIME FAILURE OF A TEST: For a driver with no alcohol-related law enforcement contacts within the previous five years, driving privileges are suspended for 30 days followed by 60 days of Restricted Driving Privilege. The restricted license is available upon showing proof of insurance before the 30 days suspension has expired. The restriction allows a person to drive “in connection with a person’s business, occupation or employment, and to and from an alcohol education and treatment program” only. This goes on the person’s driving record and stays forever, with certain exceptions for minors.
SECOND AND SUBSEQUENT FAILURES OF A TEST: Driving privileges are suspended for one year. You are not eligible for a hardship license. This goes on the person’s driving record and stays for five years.
If you refused a chemical test, driving privileges are revoked for one (1) year. However, if it is your first DWI, you can apply for a hardship license after 90 days. This goes on the person’s driving record and stays for five years.
NOTE: The administrative hearing and the criminal case are two separate suits. Neither one has any bearing whatsoever on the other. However, if you are suspended pursuant to one, that suspension will be run concurrently with a suspension in the other. So, if you lost at the administrative hearing and at trial, and it was your second time DWI, you would only be suspended for one year total. But, your driving record will reflect two separate suspensions for the same arrest.
Appealing The Suspension
According to Missouri DWI laws, every driver has the right to appeal the administrative driver’s license suspension to the circuit court of the county in which the arrest was made. A Petition for Review of a license revocation must be filed within 15 days of the date that the suspension was mailed by the Director. If an appeal is taken, the matter is heard anew by a judge in the courtroom and the administrative hearing is treated as though it never happened. These appeals are usually handled by the Department of Revenue.
After a Missouri DWI, you could very well lose your license. If you have been revoked from driving in Missouri for convictions or a refusal, you may be eligible for “Limited Driving Privileges”, most commonly known as a hardship license. You may apply for a hardship license to either the circuit court of your county of residence or the Director of Revenue. There are many reasons why a hardship license may not be granted, including the fact that you have been convicted of a felony involving the use of a vehicle, the failure to pay child support, or suspension in another state. There are also many requirements concerning when a person may apply for a hardship license. For instance, a person convicted of two DWIs within 5 years may not apply for a hardship license until he or she has served at least 2 of the 5 years of revocation. You should consult with an attorney concerning whether you are eligible for a hardship license.