DWI laws in Missouri prevent drivers intoxicated by alcohol, prescription drugs, or controlled substances from endangering the public on Missouri highways. These laws are criminal and administrative. The DWI laws offer remedies for your first arrest. However, your second DWI conviction will result in a one to five year suspension of your driver’s license. A driver who commits a third DWI offense within five years serves four years in jail. They also lose his or her driver’s license for ten years under stringent Missouri DWI laws. A defendant who injures or kills someone while driving while intoxicated by alcohol, prescription drugs, or controlled substances is charged with aggravated DWI in Missouri.
What Is a DWI under Missouri Law?
Under DWI laws in Missouri, your first DWI is a Class B misdemeanor . This means you will probably spend at least 48 hours in jail. You can be sentenced to six months in jail as well as ordered to pay a fine of up to $500. A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 is illegally intoxicated for most driver. Commercial drivers are illegally intoxicated if their BAC is .04. Underage drinkers are illegally intoxicated if their BAC is .02. If any amount of a Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V controlled substance is present in a driver’s blood stream, the driver is driving while intoxicated.
What Happens If I get Pulled Over?
You should stay calm and be polite if an officer pulls you off the road. If you complain or argue with the officer, you increase your chances of being arrested. Following DWI laws in Missouri, the police officer will offer you a blood, breath, or urine test to prove your innocence. The police officer chooses which test you will take and uses the test results as evidence in court. If the test proves you are driving while intoxicated, you will be arrested and taken to jail.
Can I Refuse the Tests?
You can refuse to take the test, but your license will be suspended administratively for one year. Under Missouri’s implied consent laws, operating a motor vehicle with a Missouri driver’s license is implied consent to take a blood, breath, or urine test if the officer suspects you are driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
What Happens If I Refuse Them?
The state of Missouri will suspend your driver’s license for one year if you refuse to take your breathalyzer test. This type of suspension is “Chemical Revocation“. You can petition the circuit court for a review of your chemical revocation. If it’s your second or third DWI offense, you must also have an interlock device installed on your vehicle before your driving privileges are reinstated.
What Are the Penalties I Should Expect?
You will be arrested and taken to jail. Missouri administrative statutes 302.500 to 302.540 require the arresting officer to transmit the following information to the Missouri Department of Revenue:
- Alcohol Influence Report.
- Missouri Uniform Complaint, Warrant.
- Suspension/Revocation of Driver’s License (Form 2385).
- Your Confiscated Driver’s License.
What Happens If I Have a Child Passenger?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed 210 child deaths in 2014 caused by drunk drivers. Driving while intoxicated with alcohol or drugs in your bloodstream and a minor child in your car is child abuse or child endangerment in all 50 United States. Applying DWI laws in Missouri, all children and teenagers under the of 17 are minors. Intoxicated drivers do not always adequately restrain children in car seats.
First Offense DWI
Your first DWI will get you up to 6 months in jail, up to $500 fines, and 30-day suspension. There’s also the risk of getting an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. The officer will tell you how to schedule a court appearance. You must successfully complete a substance abuse offender counseling program. If you refuse to take the mandatory breath test, you will not be forced to do so unless you caused an accident which resulted in severe bodily harm or death. However, your driver’s license will be suspended for 1 year.
Drivers Under 21 Years Old
Under DWI laws in Missouri, drivers under 21 years old face administrative alcohol arrests. They lose their driver’s licenses if they attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages, are visibly intoxicated, or have a BAC greater .020. A minor in possession of alcohol receives a 30 to 90-day suspension. Moreover, if the minor is found in possession of drugs or alcohol a third time, his or her license is suspended for one year.
Second offense DWI
If it’s your second DWI offense, you must also have an interlock device installed on your vehicle before your driving privileges are reinstated. You’ll be held in jail for at least 10 days. Your second DWI can result in a year in prison, up to $1000 in fines, 1-year suspension, as well as an ignition interlock device after the suspension.
Third Offense DWI
Your third DWI arrest is a felony which results in up to five years in prison, $5,000 in fines, extended probation, and a suspended license for ten years. An ignition interlock device must be installed on your vehicle when your license is reinstated. The state of Missouri maintains a centralized database of all DWI offenses from arrests to court hearings. DWI courts have been established for treatment of repeat offenders. You may be able to get a public defender to represent you in court and in the administrative hearings to get your driver’s license back.
You should not attempt to face tough criminal charges by yourself. You need staunch legal representation in what may seem the most-difficult, worse time of your life, to preserve your rights and to represent you in criminal court and in agency hearings to get your driver’s license reinstated. Under DWI laws in Missouri a limited license may be granted by court order to allow you to drive to work to support yourself and your family. You must obtain a Missouri SR-22 proof of liability insurance valid for 90 days to apply for a hardship license.