If you’ve been charged with DWI, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed and may have a long list of questions. The answers to the questions that clients ask most frequently can help you better understand your own situation and can help you make the right decisions moving forward. One of the most important steps anyone in your situation can take is reaching out for the skilled legal guidance of an experienced Missouri DWI attorney early in the legal process.
What is the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in Missouri?
In Missouri, the legal limit for blood alcohol content or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent. If you blow a .08 percent reading – or are otherwise determined to have a BAC of .08 percent or higher – you can face a charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI). If you’re under the age of 21, this BAC limit is drastically reduced to .02 percent, and if you’re a commercial driver, the limit is set at .04 percent. Further, motorists who show signs of impairment – without necessarily being over the legal limit – can still face DWI charges.
What are the penalties for a first-time DWI conviction in Missouri?
While a higher BAC can affect the charge and attendant penalties you face for a first-time DWI conviction in Missouri, the legal basics include the following:
- The charge is a Class B Misdemeanor.
- A conviction can lead to fines of up to $1,000.
- A conviction can lead to jail time of up to 6 months, but with skilled legal representation, such sentences are often suspended in lieu of probation or treatment for substance abuse.
The fines and penalties for a second offense in a five-year period are considerably harsher.
Can I refuse a chemical test in Missouri?
When you drive in Missouri, the state identifies you as giving implied consent to chemical testing for DWI, which includes breathalyzer and blood tests. While you can still refuse such testing, doing so leads to an automatic one-year license revocation, which is known as a chemical revocation. Chemical revocations can be appealed within 30 days, but you must show that you have grounds for appeal, which is a complicated legal matter.
How long will my license be suspended for a DWI conviction in Missouri?
If the conviction is your first, you should expect a 90-day suspension of your driver’s license, which may be eligible for restricted driving privileges. A second conviction, however, generally means a one-year license revocation – based on the accumulation of points. If, however, the conviction is a second within a five-year period, you could face a five-year license denial. Finally, three or more convictions comes with a license denial of 10 years.
Losing your driving privileges can have profound effects on your life that include interfering with your ability to make a living. Working closely with a trusted DWI attorney is always advised.
Will I go to jail for a DWI conviction in Missouri?
While you can face up to six months in jail for a first-time DWI conviction in the State of Missouri, most first-time offenders avoid jail by accepting suspended sentences that include either rehab or probation and community service. A first offender with a high BAC of from .15 to .2 percent, however, faces a mandatory 48 hours in jail, and those with readings that are over .2 percent are required to spend at least five days behind bars.
A second conviction carries a minimum sentence of 10 days in jail, which can be extended to a full year.
What is the difference between a DWI and a DUI in Missouri?
DWI stands for driving while intoxicated, and DUI stands for driving under the influence, and in the State of Missouri, they are used interchangeably. While some states distinguish between the two charges, this isn’t the case in Missouri. The charge that is officially employed by the State of Missouri is DWI, and it applies to impairment behind the wheel.
How long will a DWI stay on my record in Missouri?
In Missouri, a DWI conviction will stay on your driving record indefinitely – regardless of the circumstances involved. In certain situations, however, expungements are possible. An expungement means that the authorities are required to treat the DWI arrest as if it didn’t happen, and as a result, they cannot share information about it with interested third parties.
Can I get a restricted driving privilege after a DWI conviction in Missouri?
Restricted driving privileges relate to driving in connection with work, school, court obligations, childcare, and additional limited circumstances while under suspension. If the DWI offense is your first, there are two potential options in relation to restricted driving privileges, including:
- 90 days of restricted driving privileges with the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
- 30 days of license suspension that is followed by 60 days of restricted driving privileges
Anyone with a DWI offense within the last five years is not eligible for restricted driving privileges.
Will a DWI conviction in Missouri affect my job prospects?
DWI convictions are matters of public record, which means your employer or potential employer has access to the information. In other words, a DWI conviction can directly affect your employment prospects. Any of the following may apply in the aftermath of a DWI conviction:
- You could be fired from your current job.
- You could face complications in relation to advancing your career.
- You may have trouble finding a new job.
- Your professional licensure could be affected or even revoked.
A DWI conviction comes with social consequences that can overshadow the fines and penalties you face.
Should I hire a DWI attorney in Missouri?
If you’re facing a DWI charge, it’s always in your best interest to have a skilled Missouri DWI attorney in your corner. Bringing your strongest defense can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case, and a focused DWI attorney has the legal insight and resources to help ensure a favorable case resolution. The outcome of your case is important to your future, and a seasoned DWI attorney can help.
Too many defendants fail to recognize that they have legal rights that are well worth defending. Being charged with DWI is not the same as being guilty of DWI, and your savvy DWI attorney will leave no stone unturned in their focused efforts to resolve your case favorably.
Don’t Wait to Consult with an Experienced Missouri DWI Attorney
The negative consequences of a DWI conviction can be far-reaching, and failing to bring a solid defense can alter the course of your future. Paul O’Rourke is an accomplished Missouri DWI attorney at The O’Rourke Law Firm in O’Fallon who fiercely protects the legal rights of clients like you and who takes immense pride in his impressive track record of success. We recognize that the outcome of your case can have profound effects on your life, and we’re committed to harnessing the full force of our imposing experience and legal skill in pursuit of your case’s best possible conclusion. We are here to help, so please don’t wait to contact us or call us at 636-323-5010 for more information about what we can do for you today.