DUI Laws in Missouri

This article provides an in-depth look at Missouri's DUI laws, penalties, and procedures, using information from legitimate sources such as government websites and official legal statutes.

Driving under the influence (DUI), also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Missouri, is a serious offense with significant legal consequences. This article provides an in-depth look at Missouri's DUI laws, penalties, and procedures, using information from legitimate sources such as government websites and official legal statutes.

Overview of Missouri DUI Laws

Definition of DUI/DWI in Missouri

In Missouri, the terms DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) are often used interchangeably. According to the Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo) Section 577.010, a person commits the offense of driving while intoxicated if they operate a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated or drugged condition. Intoxication is defined as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, or being under the influence of drugs.

  • General Drivers: 0.08% BAC
  • Commercial Drivers: 0.04% BAC
  • Drivers Under 21: 0.02% BAC

Source: Revised Statutes of Missouri, RSMo Section 577.010

Missouri's implied consent law requires drivers to submit to chemical tests (breath, blood, or urine) if a law enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to believe the driver is intoxicated. Refusal to take the test can result in immediate administrative penalties, including license suspension.

Source: Missouri Department of Revenue - DWI

Penalties for DUI/DWI in Missouri

First Offense

A first-time DWI offense in Missouri is classified as a Class B misdemeanor. Penalties include:

  • Jail Time: Up to 6 months
  • Fines: Up to $500
  • License Suspension: 30 days, followed by a 60-day restricted driving period
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID): May be required

Source: Missouri DWI Laws - Nolo

Second Offense

A second DWI offense is more severe and is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. Penalties include:

  • Jail Time: Up to 1 year
  • Fines: Up to $1,000
  • License Revocation: 1 year
  • IID: Required for reinstatement of driving privileges

Source: Penalties for a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Felony DWI in Missouri

Third Offense

A third DWI offense is classified as a Class D felony. Penalties include:

  • Jail Time: Up to 4 years
  • Fines: Up to $5,000
  • License Revocation: 10 years
  • IID: Required for reinstatement of driving privileges

Source: Third and Subsequent Offense DWI | Higher Level Legal Law Firm

Felony DWI

A fourth or subsequent DWI offense is classified as a Class C felony. Penalties include:

  • Jail Time: Up to 7 years
  • Fines: Up to $5,000
  • License Revocation: 10 years
  • IID: Required for reinstatement of driving privileges

Source: Missouri DWI Laws and Penalties - Nolo

Administrative Penalties

License Suspension and Revocation

Administrative penalties for DWI in Missouri include license suspension and revocation. The Missouri Department of Revenue handles these penalties, which are separate from criminal penalties.

  • First Offense: 30-day suspension followed by a 60-day restricted driving period
  • Second Offense: 1-year revocation
  • Third Offense: 10-year revocation

Source: Missouri Department of Revenue - DWI

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

An IID is a breathalyzer device installed in a vehicle that prevents it from starting if the driver's BAC is above a preset limit. Missouri law requires an IID for certain DWI offenders, particularly for repeat offenders and those seeking reinstatement of driving privileges after a revocation.

Source: Missouri DWI Laws - Abella Law Firm

Special Considerations

Underage DWI Laws

Missouri has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. Drivers under 21 with a BAC of 0.02% or higher can be charged with a DWI. Penalties include:

  • First Offense: 30-day suspension
  • Second Offense: 90-day suspension
  • Third Offense: 1-year revocation

Source: Underage DWI Laws & Penalties in Missouri

Commercial Drivers

Commercial drivers in Missouri are held to a higher standard. A BAC of 0.04% or higher can result in a DWI charge. Penalties for commercial drivers are more severe and can include disqualification from operating commercial vehicles.

Source: Missouri DWI Laws - Abella Law Firm

Drugged Driving

Driving under the influence of drugs, whether prescription or illegal, is also prohibited under Missouri law. Penalties for drugged driving are similar to those for alcohol-related DWIs.

Source: Missouri DWI Laws - Abella Law Firm

Arrest and Booking

When a driver is suspected of DWI, they are typically arrested and taken to a police station for booking. This process includes fingerprinting, photographing, and recording personal information.

Arraignment

The arraignment is the first court appearance where the defendant is formally charged with DWI. The defendant can enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.

Pre-Trial Motions

Pre-trial motions may be filed by the defense to challenge the evidence or the legality of the arrest. Common motions include motions to suppress evidence or dismiss charges.

Trial

If the case goes to trial, both the prosecution and defense present evidence and arguments. The judge or jury then decides whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty.

Sentencing

If the defendant is found guilty, the judge will impose a sentence based on the severity of the offense and the defendant's criminal history.

Appeals

Defendants have the right to appeal a conviction if they believe there was a legal error in the trial process.

Public Defenders

Missouri provides public defenders for individuals who cannot afford private legal representation. Public defenders are experienced in handling DWI cases and can provide valuable assistance.

Private Attorneys

Hiring a private attorney can provide more personalized legal representation. Many attorneys specialize in DWI defense and can offer expert advice and representation.

Several legal aid organizations in Missouri offer free or low-cost legal services to individuals facing DWI charges. These organizations can provide legal advice, representation, and resources.

Conclusion

Missouri's DUI laws are strict and carry severe penalties for those convicted. Understanding these laws and the legal procedures involved is crucial for anyone facing a DWI charge. By adhering to the legal BAC limits and avoiding impaired driving, individuals can avoid the serious consequences associated with DWI offenses.

For more detailed information, you can visit the following official resources:

This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of Missouri's DUI laws, helping to improve access to justice and legal understanding for all individuals.

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Von Wooding

Von Wooding

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