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DWI penalties in Missouri are strict. Anyone accused of operating a motor vehicle above the legal limit should fully understand the charges outlined in Missouri DWI laws and how the penalties can affect them now and in the future.
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Penalties for DWI Convictions in Missouri
First DWI Penalties
A first offense DWI is considered a Class B Misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Sometimes, a judge may be more lenient with a first-time offender. However, you should not rely on this notion. Even one DWI or alcohol-related traffic offense can come with a series of potential consequences that can limit you in the future.
Second DWI Penalties
A second DWI offense within five years of a first DWI conviction is considered a Class A Misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Two DUIs within five years can also result in a five-year license suspension.
A second DWI that occurred more than five years after a person’s first offense will be charged as a Class B misdemeanor with the same criminal penalties explained above.
Any previous DWI convictions, regardless of how many years ago they happened or in what state, can still be used to increase charges and enhance DWI penalties.
Third DWI Penalties
A third DWI offense is considered a Class E felony. The state refers to this as a “persistent offender.” It is punishable by up to four years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
A persistent offender is not eligible for parole or probation for a minimum of 30 days unless the conditions for release state that the offender must perform at least 60 days of community service (totaling 480 hours of work).
Drivers convicted of a third DWI in Missouri will face a 10-year denial period for their license. Any subsequent offenses beyond your third DWI in Missouri will have incrementally longer jail sentences. Chronic offenders (3 or more prior DWIs) can face up to 10 years in jail.
Missouri DWI Penalties for Special Circumstances
DWI penalties in Missouri can be exacerbated by the presence of special circumstances in an investigation.
For example, if a DWI resulted in a car accident and injured another person, whether or not it’s your first DWI, it may be charged as a felony.
A DWI that causes physical injury is considered a Class E felony because the driver acted with “criminal negligence.” This is punishable by up to four years in jail and fines of up to $10,000.
Reducing a Missouri DWI Penalty
An experienced DWI attorney can make several arguments to reduce or eliminate your penalties.
Defenses can include:
- Unlawful traffic stops
- Improper sobriety tests
- Failure to give warnings
- Improper administration of a breathalyzer
Take your time to explore all the legal options available to you to build your most robust defense strategy.
You need a DWI attorney who knows the intricacies of the legal system in Missouri. Rose Legal Services can explain your Missouri DWI charge and will be your advocate in court.
You can rely on our team to guide you through the legal process as smoothly as possible — Get started with a FREE Consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Missouri DWI Penalties
What is a common defense to avoid Missouri DWI penalties?
There are many defenses and strategies available for drunk driving cases.
One of the most common defenses is challenging the administration of field sobriety tests, such as the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (also known as the “eye test”), the Walk-and-Turn Test, and the One-Leg-Stand Test.
A law enforcement officer might administer one of these tests roadside to a person under investigation for DWI. The issue with these tests is that everyone’s physical abilities vary greatly. For example, some people may fail these tests even when sober.
Can I make a plea bargain to reduce my DWI penalties in Missouri?
Missouri law does not prohibit plea bargaining in DWI cases, so yes, you can make a plea bargain. This means you can negotiate a plea deal to reduce your penalties.
However, making a plea bargain does not guarantee that your charges will be lessened. Also, completing a plea bargain means you must plead guilty to your charges. Your DWI will remain on your criminal record even if your sentence is reduced.
What does the implied consent law do in Missouri?
Missouri’s implied consent laws say that you must submit a breath, urine, or blood test if the police officer has probable cause that you’ve been driving while intoxicated.
If they request a blood alcohol concentration test and you don’t comply, they will take away your license and give you Form 4323.
This form explains how your license will be revoked for a year, 15 days from the date of the notice. Form 4323 also serves as a temporary license for 15 days.
If this happens, call a DWI lawyer, and they can file a Petition for Review to receive a Stay Order. If this is your first DWI, a Missouri Stay Order will allow you to drive while your case is pending.
Your lawyer has 30 days from the date of your arrest to file the petition, so it’s crucial to contact a criminal defense law firm as soon as you receive Form 4323.
Missouri DWI Attorney
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Contact a Missouri DWI attorney to help protect your freedoms as soon as possible. Whether this is a first-time offense or you’ve been charged before, we can help you get the best possible results in your DWI case.
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