Each state has different laws regarding driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence, DWI and DUI, respectively. If you are a Missouri resident and police arrest and charge you with DWI, you should know the potential penalties you may face if a judge convicts you of the charges.
As with all states, the particulars of your case and your arrest are key to understanding the potential consequences of a conviction for DWI in Missouri. Here are the basics regarding the state’s DWI law so you can understand how your particular charges may have the potential to lead to jail time:
DWI basics in Missouri
The main determining factor when it comes to a DWI charge in Missouri is your blood alcohol level at the time of your arrest. Your blood alcohol level, or BAC, is over the legal limit if it is at 0.08 percent or higher. This is a national blood alcohol limit for DUI and DWI arrests. There are more severe penalties if your BAC is 0.15 percent or higher. In Missouri, a first offense is a criminal offense that falls into the category of a Class B misdemeanor. What this means is that you could face jail time of up to six months even for your first offense.
DWI offenses and defense
If you receive a second DWI offense, your potential jail time, if convicted, goes up to possibly one year, with a five-day minimum, unless you serve 30 days of community service. In addition, a DWI conviction stays on your record for 10 years for a first offense. Having a criminal record can create significant hardships for you, especially in terms of employment, since many potential employers will not hire applicants with criminal records. If the state suspends your driver’s license, this can prevent you from being able to drive to your workplace, making a negative impact on your ability to earn a living.
The stakes are high in any DWI arrest in Missouri, and jail time is not the only risk. You should never underestimate the severity of the potential consequences of a DWI conviction. The best way to try to avoid or mitigate these consequences is by seeking out a strong and strategic legal defense.