DUI in Missouri: Penalties, Fines and Other Consequences
If you are facing a Missouri DUI, contact an experienced attorney who can help you minimize the charges and get the best possible outcome.
What Is DUI in Missouri?
Driving under the influence of alcohol or other impairing drugs is a crime in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Whether your state calls this offense “driving under the influence (DUI),” “driving while intoxicated (DWI),” or some other name, it is a charge that is taken very seriously and punished accordingly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that roughly 40 percent of all U.S. traffic deaths are due to an alcohol-related driving offense.
You can get a Missouri DWI charge for driving under the influence or impaired by alcohol or drugs or with blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .08%. However, the BAC legal limit is .04% for those who drive commercial motor vehicles, while drivers younger than 21 can face a DWI arrest for driving with a .02% or more BAC.
DUI Laws in Missouri
New York became the first state to enact drunk driving laws in 1910. California and a handful of other states followed one year later, but none of these statutes offered a specific definition of what it meant to be drunk or impaired. Instead, proof of intoxication was left to the arresting officer’s observations. Therefore, these early laws were not very enforceable.
States realized they needed an objective way to measure a driver’s impairment, which led to the invention and enthusiastic adoption of the “Drunk-o-meter” in 1938. The following year, Indiana became the first state to establish a blood alcohol concentration limit (at .15 percent, nearly twice the current limit). As BAC-monitoring technology steadily improved, other states began setting their own BAC limits to enforce drunk driving laws.
In 2000, Congress passed a law requiring each state to set its BAC limit at 0.08 percent and establish the legal drinking age at 21. Since the penalty for noncompliance was the loss of millions of dollars in federal highway funds, all states eventually fell in line. In 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board suggested lowering BAC limits to 0.05 percent.
According to Missouri DWI laws, an individual commits a DWI offense if she or he is operating a motor vehicle while being in an intoxicated condition. Generally, an individual is “impaired” if their ability to safely operate a vehicle is affected by consumed alcohol, a controlled substance, prescription medications, illegal drugs, or any combination of these substances. Since different substances affect differently on everyone, DWI laws set measurable limits.
DUI Penalties in Missouri
In Missouri, first offense DWI conviction is a Class B misdemeanor. The penalty includes up to six months of jail time and a fine of up to $500.
Second DWI conviction within five years is a Class A misdemeanor with harsher penalties. Although the maximum jail sentence is also up to one year, there is a mandatory minimum jail time of 48 hours. In addition, a fine is up to $1,000 plus court costs.
If a person receives a third DWI conviction or more within their lifetime, they are eligible to be charged for a felony offense. The amount of jail time would depend on the number of prior DWI convictions. For a third alcohol-related offense, the offender can expect to spend up to five years in prison and pay a fine of up to $5,000.
DWI offenders would also be placed on probation after a first DWI offense. Repeat offenders – those who obtained a second DWI conviction – would be eligible for probation after they have served 48 hours in jail.
Often, it takes months to resolve a Missouri DWI charge. In that time, your life is put on hold because you don’t know what kind of penalty you will get or for how long you will have your license suspended or revoked. You may need a DUI defense attorney like Bradley S. Dede, who is familiar with the processes of the local DWI court system. He uses that knowledge on a daily basis to obtain optimal results for his clients.
DUI Records Missouri
Of course, a DWI conviction also results in consequences related to the offender’s driver’s license. For a first offense DWI, your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days. But if you have no prior alcohol-related traffic offense, you may be eligible for a restricted license after 30 days of license suspension, which will go on a person’s driving record.
The court will probably require attending an alcohol or substance abuse treatment program. It may also demand driving only a motor vehicle with an ignition interlock device (IIG) while on probation.
Being convicted of a second intoxication-related traffic offense would typically result in revocation of your driver’s license for a year. But, if that is the second time you have been convicted of a drug or alcohol-related driving offense within five years, you may face a driver’s license denial for 5 years. This will also go on a person’s driver’s record along with the appropriate number of points assessed against the driver’s license. Subsequent offenses may result in an even longer period of license denial.
Bear in mind that there are two separate cases after Missouri DUI arrests. One is handled by the court and involves criminal penalties and fines. The other is filed by the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) regarding Administrative License suspension. Don’t forget you only have 15 days from the arrest date to request a hearing.
Because of Missouri implied consent laws, all individuals arrested because of driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses will be asked by an arresting officer to submit to blood or breath test to determine their BAC. Although you can refuse testing, that results in the revocation of your driver’s license for a year. Contact DUI lawyer who has enough experience in these types of cases as soon as possible.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Missouri?
Missouri law (610.130) states that an individual who was convicted for driving while intoxicated for the first time can apply to the court for an order to expunge all official records information regarding their DWI/DUI arrest and conviction after ten years. However, they must not have been convicted of any intoxication-related traffic offense in the meantime.
But, this doesn’t apply to individuals who have a commercial driver’s license.
How to Find Out If You Have a DUI in Missouri
You can request your own Missouri driver record in person at any Missouri license office or online by submitting a completed driver’s license record request.
In addition to driving while intoxicated, Missouri law also forbids individuals to be in actual physical control of the vehicle while in an intoxicated or drugged condition or with an excessive blood alcohol content. In other words, DUI arrests can occur even if individuals are not actually driving.
Missouri DWI cases are serious and complex. Although penalties are based on the circumstances of the case, such as blood alcohol content measured, they also depend on the number of prior convictions.
If you are facing pending DUI charges and have convictions for prior alcohol-related offenses, you may need an experienced lawyer for DUI to get your charges minimized.
How to Beat a DUI in Missouri
Even a first offense DWI in Missouri and a drunk driving conviction can lead to steep fines, license suspension or revocation, and even jail time. Additionally, it could affect your job security and significantly raise your insurance rates. Since the stakes are typically fairly high, it usually pays off to have a DUI defense attorney who knows Missouri DWI laws to handle your case.
Our law firm’s experienced DWI attorney, Bradley Dede, is skilled at scrutinizing the evidence against you, ensuring that your rights are protected, and securing the best possible outcome.
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With Bradley S. Dede we treat you as an individual and will help to fight your charges to
get a favorable outcome no matter what your case involves.