With all the information circulating on the news, Internet, and radio about the weight that DWI charges carry, you don’t need to be told that being convicted of a DUI is a serious crime. We all know that if you are charged with and convicted of a DUI or DWI your entire life will be affected. What most of us don’t know is exactly how DWIs can affect our future.
As a citizen operating a motor vehicle, you should be aware of what exactly is considered a DWI in Missouri, the penalties you can face, and when these penalties will go away and if necessary your license reinstated.
What is a DWI in Missouri?
DWI or Driving While Impaired refers to a person that has a blood alcohol content of 0.08% while operating a motorized vehicle. BAC standards vary depending on some factors—the percentage can lower for certain individuals such as:
- 0.04% BAC is considered a DWI for persons operating a commercial vehicle.
- 0.02% BAC is the legal limit for a minor (anyone under the legal drinking age of 21).
There are some exceptions to these rules. If the officer that pulled you over considered you impaired while driving (swerving, failing roadside olympics, etc.) but your BAC was less than the legal limit, you could still be issued a DWI. In any circumstance, you need to speak with a qualified DWI attorney in Missouri to fight against your DWI.
What Happens After You’ve Been Charged With A DWI?
If you are arrested on suspicion of a DWI or DUI your license will be immediately suspended. Additionally, If you refuse to perform a blood alcohol content test, you could potentially have your license suspended up to a year.
According to DMV.org, You will have 15 days after receiving your Notice of Suspension/Revocation of Driving Privilege (Form 2385) to contest your driver’s license suspension. You can use the form to either request a hearing or request restricted driving privileges.
If the suspension is sustained, your license will be suspended for 90 days if this is your first DWI conviction. If this is your second conviction your license will be suspended up to year. If you received your second conviction within a five year period of your first Missouri DWI, your license could be suspended for up to five years.
Convicted of a Missouri DWI
If this is your first DWI and you are found or plead guilty, you will face the following penalties:
- Up to 6 months imprisonment.
- License suspension up to 90 days.
- A fine of $500.
- Alcohol treatment/addiction evaluation programs.
- Depending on the severity an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) may be fitted to your car (not usually issued for first time offenders).
The penalties for second and third time offenders increase exponentially from there. You can find more information for repeat offenders, how Missouri DWIs affect the points on your license and more, here.
Getting Your Life & Your License Back
Once you have completed the requirements set by the court you can work on reinstating your license and getting your life back. While specific requirements vary from case to case, more than likely you will need to pay a reinstatement fee (this is not included in your court fees), complete a drug and alcohol evaluation program, as well as additional driver’s license testing and provide an SR22.
However, even after you have your driving privileges back, your DWI charge will continue to plague you for the next seven years of you life. This can negatively impact your chances of getting a loan, owning a home, or finally landing the career of your dreams.
If you would like additional information about DWIs in Missouri or if you have been charged with a DWI, contact us to schedule a free consultation.