What You Need To Know About Missouri DWI
Whether you are pulled over an arrested for DUI in St. Louis, Kansas City, Branson, Springfield, or anywhere else in the state of Missouri, the consequences of being found guilty can be very serious. In the state of Missouri, first time offenders of DUI can face up to six months in jail, fines up to $500, a license suspension of 30 days, and the possibility of having to use an Ignition Interlock Device, or IID. Repeat offenders will face even harsher consequences if they are convicted of DUI for a second or third time.
At DUIRights.com, our professionals take the time to review and evaluate each case on an individual basis and help provide information to build a strong defense against the charges the individual faces. According to statistics, a significant amount of DUI arrests violate an individual’s rights in some way. This can be used in the individual’s defense to have the case dismissed or, in the state of Missouri and some other states, have the charges reduced to something less serious like “wet reckless.”
What Are My DUI Rights?
In order for people to know if their DUI rights were violated, they need to know what their DUI rights are. This is why having a knowledgeable DUI attorney try their case is so important, to not only explain their rights to them but also help to review the case and find weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case. In order to better understand what happened before, during, and after the individual was arrested for DUI, the attorney will likely ask some of the following questions:
- What was the arresting officer’s reason for conducting a traffic stop? What driving law was violated to trigger the stop?
- Did the arresting officer witness the individual driving the vehicle? Was the vehicle in operation when the traffic stop was conducted?
- Did the arresting officer administer any field sobriety testing? Did any outside forces affect the individual’s test results?
- Did the arresting officer administer a Breathalyzer test? How long after the individual’s last alcoholic drink was that test administered?
- Was the observations made by the arresting officer consistent with the observations of other witnesses?
- Did the arresting officer read the individual their Miranda Rights?
The answers to these questions will help the attorney paint a clean picture of what happened during the DUI arrest and will help him or her easily identify which, if any, of the individual’s rights were violated.
Protect your rights and learn how to get your Missouri DWI charges dismissed. Get Started Now by filling out the Free DUI Arrest Evaluation Form to get the answers you need.
DWI Laws in Missouri
Missouri is unique in assessing DUI penalties and fines in that for many of the penalties, the state does not actually have a minimum, leaving it up to the discretion of the judge. However, it is important to note, that the maximum fines and penalties are significant, making this one of the tougher states for DUI violators.
Consequences for Refusing to Take Chemical Tests
Missouri is an implied consent state, which means that if you do refuse to take chemical tests, you will face a fine and the following periods of revocation of your license:
- First offense – one-year license revocation
- Second offense – one-year license revocation with a mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) installation
- Third offense – one-year license revocation with a mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) installation
Challenging BAC Levels in Court
Missouri uses standard blood alcohol content levels to establish if the driver is DUI:
- Drivers that are 21 years or older, .08 percent
- Drivers under the age of 21, .02 percent
- Commercial drivers, .04 percent
Is There Mandatory Jail Time Required for a DUI Missouri?
Missouri does require a jail sentence for all violations. While there is no minimum, the maximum sentence available to the judge is much longer than most states:
- First time offenders – up to six months in jail
- Second time offenders – up to one year in jail
- Third time offenders – up to four years in jail
Missouri has a 5-year washout period for DUI.
Monetary Fines and Penalties for DWI in Missouri
Just as it is for jail sentences, Missouri only lists a ceiling for its monetary DUI fines:
- First offense – fines up to $500
- Second offense – fines up to $1,000
- Third offense – fines up to $5,000
License Suspension for DWI in Missouri
Missouri takes a minimal approach early on for DUI suspensions. However, third-time offenders face one of the longest suspensions possible in the United States:
- First offense – 30-day suspended license
- Second offense – 1-year license suspension
- Third offense – 10-year license suspension
IID installation is possible for first and second offenders, but it is mandatory for third-time offenders.
Reasons to Hire a Missouri DWI Attorney
Driver license suspension occurs immediately upon arrest for DWI. The driver has only 15 days to request an administrative hearing during which the court will uphold or dismiss the license suspension or revocation. The DWI hearing takes place separately and deals with the criminal DWI charge. Having a lawyer on hand at both events can affect the outcome.
When searching for a lawyer, some defendants need not look far because they qualify for public defenders. These attorneys are appointed by the court based on financial need. However, even someone with limited assets should think twice before using this type of legal counsel. Public defenders are not usually well-versed in DWI laws and prefer to settle their cases, which often forces defendants to face some consequences.
Private practice DUI attorneys cost a bit more but focus on helping their clients win DWI cases. They fully understand Missouri DWI laws and quickly recognize DWI arrest mistakes and chemical testing errors. These lawyers call experts to testify about inaccuracies in breath, blood, and urine tests and use case precedents to establish the innocence of their clients. This approach enables many defendants to walk out of court cleared of all charges.
Finding a DUI Lawyer in Missouri
If a public defender is presented as an option for the legal defense, do not accept this without exploring DUIRights.com. Our site is filled with information useful to anyone preparing a Missouri DWI defense. We also offer free DUI arrest evaluations from experienced Missouri DUI lawyers. Discuss the case with one of these attorneys and then decide whether putting fate in the hands of a public defender is worth it.
It will quickly become evident that a DUI lawyer is the best choice. During the free legal evaluation, ask one of our lawyers about the best way to build a strong defense and inquire about financing or installment payments for legal charges. Having a lawyer at the helm of the defense team is usually much more affordable than expected.
As was alluded to earlier, many of the fines and penalties in Missouri are in the judge’s hands (while there is maximum penalty stated). A skilled DUI Rights attorney may be able to either plead the case out to lesser charges or present your case to the judge in a manner that would result in very low fines and penalties. This is a much better option than trying to defend yourself in court. Fill out the Free DUI Arrest evaluation form to get started on your case.