Need to know Missouri DWI Laws

In the state of Missouri, you can be arrested for driving while intoxicated if you have a blood alcohol content above .08 percent. For drivers under the legal drinking age of 21, the minimum BAC is only .02 percent, and for commercial drivers, it is .04 percent. The DWI law also applies to driving under the influence of illegal drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, or any other controlled substance. In a plea bargain, a DWI charge could possibly be reduced to reckless driving, also known as a “wet reckless.”

Implied Consent Law

If an officer stops you with probable cause for DWI, Missouri’s implied consent law states that you must take a chemical test or be subject to automatic penalties. If you refuse to take a blood, breath or urine test, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year. If this is not the first offense or refusal, an ignition interlock device may also be installed on your vehicle.

Penalties for a DWI Conviction

Missouri DWI laws do not mandate any minimum jail time for driving while intoxicated. However, you could serve up to six months for a first DWI offense and up to one year for a second offense.

Your license will also be suspended for 30 days and restricted for another 60 days, and you may also be fined up to $500 for your first DWI. For a second DWI conviction, your license will be suspended for one year, and you face a potential fine of up to $1,000. An ignition interlock device may be installed on your vehicle, and you must pay a license reinstatement fee of $45.

Missouri has a “washout” or “lookback” time period of five years, so if you are convicted of a DWI more than five years after a first conviction, it will be treated as a first, rather than as a second, offense.

Felony DWI

More than two DWIs may result in a felony conviction. You could potentially be charged with a Class D felony for a third DWI conviction, a Class C for a fourth DWI, or a Class B for a fifth DWI. If convicted of a DWI-related felony, you may serve up to five, 10, or 15 years for a Class D, C, or B felony, respectively. Furthermore, you may have to pay a fine of up to as much as $10,000. Additionally, your driver’s license will be revoked for a 10-year period no matter when your previous convictions occurred.

Changes in Missouri DWI Laws

In 2010, Missouri DWI laws were strengthened through the passage of House Bill 1695. A centralized database of DWI offenses was created, and specialized DWI courts were established to expedite alcohol treatment for repeat offenders. The law also prevents a first DWI from being expunged from your record if you have any other alcohol-related issue on record.

What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Missouri?

People who are convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Missouri are subject to severe penalties that may include large fines, a long license suspension and a jail sentence, among other punishments.

As in locations around the United States, Missouri enforces a legal alcohol limit of .08 percent. If a police officer believes that a person may be impaired, a breath or blood test is typically used to establish whether an individual is intoxicated.

While a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of .08 percent applies to passenger drivers of legal drinking age, other types of motorists must adhere to stricter legal alcohol limits. For instance:

  • People who drive commercial vehicles – such as buses, construction equipment and delivery trucks – may be charged with driving while intoxicated if a BAC is.04 percent or greater.
  • Drivers under the age of 21 must observe a blood alcohol concentration limit of .02 percent.

For people who are not of legal drinking age, a BAC between .02 percent to .08 percent is not likely to result in a standard DWI, but serious penalties like a license suspension and fine usually still apply. Exceeding the legal alcohol limit will trigger the full consequences of a standard driving while intoxicated offense, regardless of age.

Ignition Interlock Requirements In Missouri

Missouri requires people convicted of DWI to install an ignition interlock device (IID). This device requires a person to pass a breath test before a vehicle will start.

Requirements concerning IIDs include:

  • A device must be installed at the expense of the convicted individual.
  • A person must agree to device terms that call for further punishments for failed BAC tests.
  • An individual may only drive vehicles with an IID.

It’s important to understand that IID can come at great expense – potentially thousands by the time a license restriction ends. Most people make room for these costs given that driving is so critical in their lives.

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