All states are tough on drunk drivers to keep roads safe for driving, though they may refer to it by different initials. Missouri uses the initials DWI, or driving while intoxicated, which also includes intoxication by narcotics or other drugs. Drivers face many penalties even for a first offense and each subsequent offense increases penalties accordingly.
Missouri DWI law overview
Missouri sets the BAC, or blood alcohol content, at .08, the standard in most states. The limit is .04 for commercial drivers and .02 for drivers under 21. If an officer has probable cause to believe a driver is intoxicated, they may perform sobriety tests or chemical tests, such as breathalyzers. When a driver gets a DWI based on BAC, it is called per se, and the prosecution doesn’t have to present further proof.
Penalties for a first offense commonly include a $1,000 fine and 10 days to six months in jail. This also includes a 90-day license suspension, but some drivers may qualify for an ignition interlock device that allows them to stay behind the wheel.
Penalties for subsequent offenses in Missouri
Common penalties for a second offense include up to a $1,000 fine, one-year jail sentence and a potential license suspension of up to 5 years. For a third offense, a driver commonly faces up to a $5,000 fine, up to a five-year jail term and a ten-year license suspension.
Missouri also allows enhanced penalties based on circumstances, even for a first offense. Enhanced penalties may apply to an aggravated DWI with a BAC .15 or more, or causing a fatality or bodily injury. These enhanced penalties also include endangering the life or health of a minor child 17 or under.
A DWI can make getting to work or school more difficult and raise insurance rates. However, it is possible to fight the charges and get them reduced with legal assistance.