When you obtain a driver’s license in Missouri, you give implied consent to submit to alcohol screening if an officer pulls you over on suspicion of DWI. If you refuse an alcohol or drug test when asked, you face a one-year administrative loss of your driver’s license. This suspension, known as a chemical revocation, is considered an alcohol-related offense just like a DWI, just without evidence required to prove that you were driving drunk.
Potential Consequences for DUI in Missouri
Individuals who have been stopped on suspicion of DUI in Missouri often find themselves making a difficult decision to either face a one-year chemical revocation for refusing the alcohol test or potentially providing evidence that can be used against them by the prosecution to get a DWI conviction. A DWI conviction can mean fines, jail time, community service, and license suspension. A first-offense DWI in Missouri carries penalties, such as up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
Additionally, most people convicted of DWI in Missouri must complete the state’s Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program (SATOP). There are four classes under SATOP, with offenders taking the level that correctly corresponds with their number of alcohol-related convictions and the blood alcohol content at the time of their arrest. Suppose you were convicted of a DWI-related administrative offense without evidence due to your refusal to submit to a chemical drug or alcohol test. In that case, you likely would be ordered to complete SATOP as part of the conditions for obtaining a restricted driver’s license or reinstating full driving privileges.
Evidence Used to Prove DWI
DWI charges are often proven by using a chemical blood or breath test to determine if the driver is over the legal impairment limit. The legal impairment limit for drivers over 21 in Missouri is generally 0.08%. However, those with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and drivers under 21 are subject to lower legal impairment limits—0.04% and 0.02%, respectively.
In addition to the results of a blood or breath test, other types of evidence the prosecution can use to prove DWI includes the arresting officer’s observations of the driver’s behavior, such as weaving on the roadway, slurred speech after the driver has been stopped, or even eyewitness accounts of a driver’s behavior before an accident occurred. Additionally, officers can show video footage from their patrol car to reveal the actions taken during the stop and the driver’s behavior. However, a prosecutor’s most important evidence is a blood or breath alcohol test or drug test.
Can You Be Charged With DWI Without Evidence?
Without proof of a chemical test, the prosecution will generally not be able to secure a DWI conviction. This is why the option of a chemical revocation is put into place. Otherwise, most drivers who are suspected of a DWI could simply refuse the test and avoid conviction.
How a Lawyer Can Help With Your DWI Case
If you’ve been charged with a DWI, an experienced Missouri criminal defense attorney can offer many services to help you with your case.
First, they will conduct their own investigation of law enforcement officers’ actions to secure the stop and the charge. They will collect information on the officer to determine if they have a history of charging individuals with DWI without evidence. If the officer violated the department’s procedures in your case, it could be grounds for dismissing the charge against you. Law enforcement officers must have cameras in their patrol cars that record a person’s behavior at a traffic stop. However, your attorney will also want access to this footage, as it might help show that your speech was not slurred and that the officer lacked sufficient evidence to stop you or to demand a drug or alcohol test.
Additionally, your DWI attorney gathers information about the equipment used to test your blood or breath. This equipment is highly sensitive and requires regular calibration to provide accurate results. Faulty equipment can also be grounds for dismissal. Likewise, suppose you suffer from a medical condition that could have resulted in a false positive chemical test or caused you to appear intoxicated when the driver stopped you. In that case, this can also be used as a reason to dismiss DWI charges without evidence.
If your DWI lawyer cannot get your charge dismissed due to lack of evidence or an improper stop or arrest, there may be an option for a plea bargain that can reduce the charges against you or lead to lesser consequences. Additionally, a DWI attorney can help with other actions, such as obtaining a restricted license after a DWI or getting a first-offense DWI expunged from your record.
Contact Rose Legal Services for a consultation regarding your DWI charges.