Drunk driving cases in Missouri are typically labeled as Driving While Intoxicated or DWI when they are related to alcohol, and Driving under the Influence or DUI when they are drug-related. Just like in the other 49 states, Missouri law states that it is illegal to operate a vehicle if your Blood-Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08 per cent or greater. This is also referred to as a DWI “per se” law. Under "per se" laws, latin for "by itself", a person can be convicted based solely on their BAC levels determined through chemical testing.
A Missouri driver can be arrested for the following drunk driving offenses:
- Driving while intoxicated by the use of alcohol or drugs
- Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater
- If under the age of 21, driving with a BAC of .02 or greater
Missouri DUI Penalties
|Court Fines||Potential Jail Time||License Suspension|
|1st Conviction||Up to $500
||Up to 6 months||30 days
|2nd Conviction||Up to $1,000||Up to 1 year||Up to 5 years|
|3rd Conviction||Up to $5,000||Up to 5 years||10 years|
Court Sanctioned Penalties of Arrest and Conviction
Missouri has penalty parameters in place for up to five DUI offenses. Penalties for a first offense include a maximum of six months jail time and a fine of up to $500 (plus court costs ranging up to $100). Penalties for the fifth offense carry a jail sentence of between five and 15 years, a fine of up to $5,000 (plus court costs ranging up to $100), and possibly two years in the state penitentiary if you are convicted as a chronic offender.
In addition to possible jail time and fines, the court can require a first time DWI offender to drive with an Ignition Interlock Device for up to 2 years. An IID forces you to pass a breath test with a BAC of no more than 0.02 per cent before you can start your vehicle and drive. In addition to being subjected to the device, you are required to pay installation, maintenance, and monthly rental costs of the device.
If you are concerned about a possible DUI conviction, a DUI lawyer can help advise you on your particular circumstances.
Driver’s License Repercussions
A driver’s license suspension of 30 days, followed by a 60-day period where driving is restricted to driving to, during, and from work, as well as to and from alcohol treatment typically accompanies a first offense in Missouri. You may also be required to install an IID (Ignition Interlock Device). A fifth and any subsequent DUI/DWI offense will result in a minimum10-year revocation of one’s driver’s license regardless of how many years have passed in between the two prior offenses.
The driver’s license hearing which accompanies the criminal court case must transpire within 15 days of the arrest. If a “Sustain Order” gets issued as a result of failing the breath test, then this results in the 30-day suspension followed by the 60-day restricted period mentioned above. If, however, there is a second test failure, then the person’s driver’s license is suspended for no less than one year, and the individual is not eligible for a hardship license.
Chemical Testing and Implied Consent Laws
Under Missouri state law, any licensed person operating a motor vehicle automatically gives his or her consent to an approved test (blood, breath, urine, or saliva) for the purposes of showing intoxication. A driver has twenty minutes to contact an attorney once stopped by an officer.
Chemical tests must be administered by licensed personnel according to standards set by the State Department of Health and Senior Services. Blood tests must be carried out by a doctor, nurse, or medical technician. Only sterile equipment can be used. Skin must be wiped and cleaned using only nonalcoholic antispetic before drawing blood. In addition, a driver accused of a DUI offense has the right to request a second, independent, chemical test at his or her own expense.
Breath Test Refusal
Driving privileges will be revoked for a period of one year should you refuse to take the test when requested. If it is your first offense, after 90 days you are allowed to apply for a hardship license which equates to “Limited Driving Privileges.” However, completing a traffic offender substance abuse program may be requred prior to reinstatement.
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