Driving While Intoxicated
If you have been stopped for a DWI (note: a DUI charge is very similar in process and the distinctions should be discussed with you and an attorney), and received a citation, there are typically two separate legal proceedings initiated against you.
- The first, a civil proceeding with no sentence or points assessed, is handled by the Department of Revenue.
- The second, a criminal proceeding, is handled by the court for the jurisdiction in which you were cited by the police which could result in fines, jail time, and/or points assessed against your Missouri driving record.
Department of Revenue:
Under Missouri law, an individual suspected of DWI will be asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests (FST) and may be asked to blow into a breathalyzer. Refusing any of these tests will impact how the Dept. of Revenue handles your Missouri issued driver’s license.
If you submit to the officer’s request and blow over a .08% BAC (blood alcohol content), you will then be required to immediately surrender your driver license and will be provided a 15-day temporary driving permit by the police officer. (Note: Do not request a duplicate license from the license bureau office, however, you may request a “non-driver’s” picture ID card). For first time offenders, your driver’s license will be suspended for 30-days, followed by a 60-day restricted driving privilege. Under some circumstances, you may qualify for a 90-day restricted driving privilege, which will require the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for the full 90-day period. During this 90-day period, you will need to acquire SR-22 insurance, complete the Substance Abuse Traffic Offender’s Program (SATOP), and pay a $45.00 fine to the Dept. of Revenue in order to have your license reinstated. Assuming all steps are successfully completed, the State will normally reinstate your driver license on the 91st day. You will be required to maintain SR-22 insurance for a period of 2-years.
If you refuse to take the breathalyzer, a “first-time” refusal”, the Department of Revenue will likely revoke your driver’s license for 1-year. You may be eligible to receive a Limited Driving Privilege after serving 90-days of the revocation and upon installation of an IID.
The suspension or revocation of your driver license automatically begins on the 16th day following your arrest, unless you request an administrative hearing through the Department of Revenue or file a Petition for Review or Refusal case. Consult your attorney for more information on the administrative hearing and your options.
For repeat offenders, you need to contact one of our attorneys in order to determine the potential punishment by the Department of Revenue.
A first time DWI is charged as a Class B Misdemeanor. If convicted, you may be sentenced up to 6-months in jail, up to a $500.00 fine, and assessed 8 points on your driving record.
Plea Bargain: Rarely does a first time DWI result in such penalties and many times we can negotiate a plea bargain with the assigned prosecutor. In many instances a period of probation, known as a Suspended Imposition of Sentence (SIS), can be obtained so that you spend little, to no time in jail, even though you have entered a plea of guilty. Assuming you complete SIS without incident, the sentence will not be imposed and you will not have points assessed to your driver license. Typically, the prosecutor will require you to complete SATOP, some community service, payment of recoupment fees to the police department, and a victim impact panel (VIP). Most of these conditions will require some additional fees to be paid by you.
Failure to complete the conditions of your probation related to a SIS may cause the court to revoke your probation and impose a sentence against you. As such, it is important to carefully follow the terms of your probation and to avoid any additional alcohol/drug related offenses in the future. If brought back before the court, it is difficult to control the outcome of the original negotiated plea bargain.
Contested Hearings: You may also elect to contest the criminal action through the court process. It is important to consult us about the evidence and facts of your particular case before ultimately pleading not guilty to a DWI charge and requesting a trial. The prosecutor has the burden to prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt and you have the right to challenge the prosecutor’s evidence and/or lack thereof. Every individual’s particular circumstances are different and there may be good reason for you to challenge the State’s proof at trial. This is a decision that must be made by you and should not be made lightly as there are no guarantees of successfully defending a DWI in trial or the outcome and resulting punishment.
You have the right and responsibility of reviewing all the evidence against you prior to making the decision on whether or not you will make a plea bargain with the prosecutor or contest the charges in court. We will request all discovery, including the arrest report and any video, if applicable, in order to help you through this important decision.
Disclaimer: DWI/DUI laws in Missouri are continually changing and the consequences of your specific situation may vary depending on the locale of the offense, the court exercising jurisdiction, the particular facts of your case, and many other factors. This web page is not a substitute for attorney advice and is prepared for you by the lawyers at Farrell & Martin, Attorneys at Law, for general informational purposes only. This information does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.