Drunk Driving Defense Laws in Missouri

The penalties for a conviction of driving while intoxicated in Missouri are severe. The penalties can vary significantly depending on previous convictions. Drivers may find the advice and guidance of an experienced Missouri DUI defense attorney can help them avoid a conviction or have charges reduced.

Missouri Drunk Driving Laws

Missouri law states that a driver is guilty of driving while intoxicated (DWI) for operating a vehicle in an intoxicated condition or with excessive blood alcohol content. For the everyday driver, this means a BAC of .08% or more. However, the BAC threshold is lowered to .04% for commercial drivers and .02% for drivers under the age of 21.

Implied Consent: Yes

Enhanced Penalties: BAC of .15% or more; driving with a person under 17 years old in the vehicle; prior convictions; accidents causing serious bodily injury or death

Missouri DWI charges may be a misdemeanor or felony offense depending on the number of prior offenses or the classification of the offender.

  • Class B misdemeanor is given to most first-time offenders, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Drivers with a .15% BAC or more must serve a minimum of 48 hours in jail.
  • Class A misdemeanor is used for prior offenders with one previous DUI conviction and is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

From there, this offense rises to a felony with penalties highly dependent on the circumstances of the situation and other aggravating factors.

  • Class E felony is used for persistent offenders with two previous convictions or offenses that physically injure another person.
  • Class D felony is the charge for aggravated offenders with three previous convictions or offenders who injure a law enforcement officer or seriously injure another person.
  • Class C felony is used for chronic offenders with four previous convictions or offenders who seriously injure a law enforcement officer or cause the death of another person.
  • Class B felony is the charge given to habitual offenders with five previous convictions, offenders who cause the death of a law enforcement officer or two or more persons, or a BAC of .18% or more.
  • Class A felony is reserved for a driver previously found guilty of a Class B felony DUI.

Missouri DWI Legal Defenses

Drivers arrested for drunk driving in Missouri have a chance of escaping the harshest penalties by avoiding a conviction for DWI altogether. Your Missouri attorney can investigate your arrest and analyze potential defenses to make sure your rights are protected. In many cases, your lawyer can negotiate with the judge and prosecutor to reduce the DWI penalties.

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