In Missouri, there are two types of charges that you may face when under suspicion of drunk driving; a DWI or an excessive BAC violation. A DWI stands for driving while intoxicated and is the general charge for any driver who appears to be driving while under the influence of any substance that could impair their driving, including drugs and alcohol. A violation of blood alcohol content (BAC) in Missouri, specifically relates to the legal limit for the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood while he or she is operating a motor vehicle.
A person can be charged with excessive blood alcohol content if their BAC is higher than.08, and they are 21 years old or older. For drivers who are under the age of 21, a BAC of .02 equates to a BAC charge. Commercial drivers will be charged with excessive BAC for if their blood alcohol content is .04 or above. This crime is punishable by up to six months in jail, along with license restrictions and fines for a first offense. Subsequent BAC offenses mean harsher license restrictions and increased fines and jail time.
If you are currently facing traffic violations in Springfield, MO, or DWI or BAC charges, contact Springfield Traffic Tickets today. Continue reading to learn more about what happens when you refuse to submit to a BAC test in Missouri and why it can be challenging to estimate a person’s BAC levels.
Why You Shouldn’t Refuse a Breathalyzer
When you are pulled over in Missouri under suspicion of drunk driving, you are, under the implied consent law, required to perform a breathalyzer test. If you refuse to have your BAC levels tested, your license will automatically be revoked for one year, whether or not you are guilty of a DWI or BAC violation. Furthermore, if you refuse to take the test multiple times, an ignition interlock device will be installed into your vehicle once your driving privileges have been reinstated.
In most cases, it is usually not helpful to refuse a BAC test in Missouri. Drivers can and have been charged with a DWI without a reading from a breathalyzer, and the consequences for refusal are immediate and lengthy. Additionally, the refusal of a BAC test is generally useful evidence in prosecuting DWI offenders. If you are pulled over under the suspicion of intoxicated driving, you have the right to an attorney immediately, before answering any questions or submitting to any testing.
Why Estimating Your BAC is Never a Good Idea
Blood alcohol content can be difficult for a driver to estimate before getting behind the wheel. The rate a person’s body absorbs and processes alcohol depends on a variety of factors, including weight, metabolism, gender, body composition, food and water consumption, and the rate of alcohol consumption. A person who weighs 100 lbs, for example, would be considered an impaired driver after only two servings of alcohol. In contrast, a person weighing 200 lbs would typically reach the same BAC level as their lighter counterparts after four drinks.
The type of alcohol consumed can also play a factor, as a typical mixed drink usually has a higher alcohol content than a single 12 oz serving of beer, and the percentage of alcohol in liquor varies significantly between manufacturers and type.
With this in mind, the best practice to avoid a BAC violation or DWI in Missouri is to order an Uber or Lyft after you have been drinking, give a sober friend your keys, or stay put.
If you do find yourself in a legal situation, contact the experts of Springfield Traffic Tickets today. We have fixed thousands of traffic violations, including DWIs and BAC violations, and we know we can help you.