Missouri DWI Laws
Missouri DWI laws are unique in contrast to other crimes because there are both criminal and administrative actions that the state can take against you if you’ve been arrested for a DWI in the State of Missouri.
- Criminal charges occur through the court system. This can be at the Municipal or County court.
- Administrative actions occur through the Department of Revenue.
- A DWI in Missouri can carry a mixture of fines, jail, loss of driving privileges and other penalties.
- Even though Missouri DWI laws are the same for everyone, punishment will vary depending on your situation.
Talk with a Lawyer about Missouri DWI Laws.
This page was developed by a DWI lawyer in Springfield MO, who defends clients in courts, but there are plenty of good reasons not to try to figure this out by yourself. These include:
- The prosecutor’s job is to get a conviction will be your opponent in court.
- Missouri DWI laws are not insanely complicated, but successfully winning a DWI case through a not-guilty verdict is much harder.
- Lawyers are legal experts who know Missouri DWI laws and will fight for your best interests.
Law Office of Timothy R. Brown
Tim is listed among the Nation’s Top 1% of Attorneys by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. Attorney Tim Brown has been recognized as a Top 40 Under 40 Trial Lawyer in Criminal Defense in Missouri by the National Trial Lawyers and the American Society of Legal Advocates. He has also been given a Superb Rating and rated a Top Attorney in DUI and Criminal Defense by AVVO.
Missouri DWI Laws
In Missouri, it’s an offense to drive with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or above, but for those under 21, the legal limit is only .02% blood alcohol content. The state has laws that govern arrests and convictions of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) individuals. The laws of Missouri that cover DWIs, BAC and other alcohol-related driving offenses are codified in the Missouri Revised Statutes.
If you have a CDL, the legal blood alcohol limit is lower when operating a commercial vehicle.
Provisions include Missouri DWI penalties for first, second, and third time offenders. The offenses also include other drugs and controlled substances such as marijuana or cocaine.
If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated, you will likely have to attend a course titled SATOP. SATOP is the Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program. There are two steps involved with SATOP. The first is that you are screened to determine which level of class you will have to take. There are four levels of classes that vary in length and cost depending on lots of factors including if this is your first DWI or a subsequent DWI and what level your blood alcohol concentration is. After the screening, you take the proper class. The class cost varies but the screening cost in and of itself is $375.
Missouri DWI Laws: Criminal Law
This law deals with the ticket that was issued. If you are convicted of an alcohol offense, the court sends a copy of the conviction to the Department of Revenue, and the proper points are assessed on your driving record. As a result of the point assessment, your driving privilege may be suspended or revoked. If you have an administrative suspension arising out of the same DWI offense, you may be given credit for the time you were suspended on the administrative suspension but will still be required to pay a separate $45 reinstatement fee.
Missouri laws are strict on alcohol-related driving offenses. The possible punishment for a DWI charge depends on if you have a history of DWIs and are in addition to the license suspension mentioned above. The statements below are assuming that the prior DWI/BAC offenses had resulted in a plea or finding of guilt or nolo contender prior to the current offense occurring. Additionally, the following are for DWI offenses alleged to have occurred after January 1, 2017. If your alleged driving while intoxicated incident occurred before that date, please call our office for a free consultation. Mr. Brown will meet with you and discuss the consequences based on the law prior to January 1, 2017 or the current law, whichever is applicable to your case.
Missouri DWI Laws: Administrative Law
This law imposes a separate suspension or revocation of your driving privilege if your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is over the legal limit or you refuse the BAC test(s). This is an automatic suspension or revocation, even if the ticket was disposed of in court or reduced to a lesser charge. You have a limited amount of time after the DWI stop to request a hearing to fight the loss of your driver’s license.
If you are arrested for driving with a blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or higher, the offense is processed administratively as well as criminally. Minors arrested or stopped with .020% or higher blood alcohol content are also subject to the administrative sanctions under sections 302.500 through 302.540, RSMo.
Missouri DWI Penalties
First DWI Offense in Missouri
A first offense for DWI in Missouri is classified as a Class B misdemeanor offense. According to the Missouri DWI laws, offenders charged and convicted can incur fines or jail time as a penalty for a DWI in Missouri. Punishment can include fines as high as $1,000 or six months in jail or a combination of the two. Persons charged with a first offense DWI in Missouri are eligible for probation.
If you are stopped and refuse to take a blood-alcohol test, you face a one-year license revocation as punishment. You may also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in any vehicle you operate.
License suspension is also not uncommon as a punishment for a DWI offense in Missouri. You might endure one month of a full suspension followed by two months where you can operate a motor vehicle on a restricted driving privilege allowing you to drive to work and few other locations. The restricted driving privileges allows you to drive to a very small amount of places including to and from work and SATOP.
After the three month time-frame, you should be eligible for reinstatement of your driver’s license but only if you have completed SATOP, paid the $45 reinstatement fee to the Department of Revenue and, if you are 21 or over, have a SR22 filing on file with the Department of Revenue.
Second DWI Offense in Missouri
If you receive two DWIs with five years, you can be charged and convicted as a prior DWI offender. Prior offenders are charged with the higher level of DWI titled a Class A misdemeanor. According to Missouri DWI laws, fines and penalties for a second-time offender include a fine as high as $2,000 or up to one year in jail or a combination of the two.
Second-time offenders are also eligible for probation. Probation is generally two years in length. As a prior offender, you are required to serve either ten days jail time or perform 240 hours of community service. Probation typically includes attending a SATOP course and staying alcohol or drug-free during the entire period.
As a two-time DWI offender within five years, your license will be revoked for 5 years by the Missouri Department of Revenue. You may be eligible for a hardship license but you will have to file a petition with the court to request the hardship license.
At the end of the revocation period, you may apply through the court for reinstatement of your driver’s license.
DWI Missouri Third Offense
Should you be guilty of DWI three times within ten years, you are charged and convicted of a DWI Missouri third offense. Persistent offenders charged under Class D Felony offenses law. Fines and Missouri DWI penalties for a three-time offender include a mandatory ten days imprisonment which may be followed four years jail time and fines as high as $5000.
The probation period for a three-time offender lies between one to two years. To be eligible for probation, you have to serve the 30 days jail time or perform 480 hours of community service. Probation includes attending approved SATOP classes and staying alcohol or drug-free during the entire period.
A third blood alcohol test refusal is punishable by a year’s license revocation. After the end of that year, you may apply for reinstatement, but you will bear with an ignition interlock.
As a three-time DWI offender within ten years, your license will be revoked as punishment. You will have to bear ten years before you are eligible for a hardship license. If an arrest does not fall within five years from the previous conviction, first offense rules apply.
After serving a few years of the revocation period, you may apply for a limited license. At the end of the revocation, you might get your license reinstated. However, you need to have met specific legal requirements. One requirement includes filing a Missouri SR22 policy document as proof that you have auto insurance coverage. You should also have portrayed good behavior during probation.
DWI Missouri Fourth Offense
Also, driving while intoxicated that results in the physical injury of a law enforcement officer or emergency personnel may be charged as a class D felony. The punishment can be a fine not to exceed $5,000 and/or a jail or prison sentence not to exceed seven years. The sentence can be up to one year in jail or up to seven years in the Department of Corrections. A fourth DWI offense is an aggravated offense and a person is not eligible for parole or probation on an aggravated DWI offense unless he or she has served at least sixty days imprisonment.
DWI Missouri Fifth Offense
Also, driving while intoxicated that results in serious physical injury to a law enforcement officer or emergency personnel may be charged as a class C felony. A fifth DWI is a chronic offense and the offender shall not be eligible for probation or parole until having served two years imprisonment. The range of punishment on a class C felony is from three to ten years in prison.
DWI Missouri Sixth Offense
Additionally, a person that causes the death of a law enforcement officer or emergency personnel while driving while intoxicated may be charged with the class B felony of driving while intoxicated. A conviction for the sixth DWI offense is this offense requires two years in the Department of Corrections prior to being eligible for parole. The sentence may be anywhere from five to fifteen years in the Department of Corrections. A sixth DWI is a habitual offense and the offender shall not be eligible for probation or parole until having served two years imprisonment. The range of punishment on a class B felony is five to fifteen years in prison.
DWI Missouri Seventh Offense
A seventh DWI is a chronic offense and the offender shall not be eligible for probation or parole until having served two years imprisonment. The range of punishment on a class A felony is ten to thirty years in prison.
DWI Missouri Aggravated Offense
According to Missouri DWI laws, if you are found guilty of DWI at least three times you are classified as an aggravated offender. An aggravated offender is charged under Class C Felony offense laws. The Missouri DWI penalties for an aggravated offender include a mandatory 60 days imprisonment followed by jail time of up to seven years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. Aggravated offenders are not eligible for probation or community service.
DWI Missouri Chronic Offender
According to Missouri DWI laws, if you are found guilty of DWI at least four or more times you are classified as a chronic offender. The Missouri DWI penalties for a chronic offender include a mandatory two years minimum in the Missouri Department of Corrections. Chronic offenders are not eligible for probation or parole until the end of the imprisonment period.
Missouri DWI Costs, Classes, SATOP
Ticket Costs of a Missouri DWI
For a first offense DWI, typically, there are court costs you would have to pay. Those range anywhere from fifty dollars up to a couple hundred dollars, depending on what court you are in. Sometimes, also along with the court cost are fines. Normally people are pulled over for speeding or weaving or something like that. There are usually fines on the companion ticket for the DWI. Usually, the fines on the companion ticket are usually anywhere from three to five hundred dollars.
Depending on their income level. Sometimes they will give you a break on the cost. You have to fill out a form in order to see if you qualify for a reduction in the fees.
Ignition Interlock Device Costs
There’s a hookup fee of a certain amount to get the device hooked up to your car. Then, usually, the fees run around a hundred dollars a month for the ignition interlock.
Attorney Costs of a Missouri DWI
Attorney costs vary and might change depending on your case. A recent survey from NOLO of nationwide attorney fees found an average of $1,900 for a first-time offense. Of course, this will all depend on your location, quality of attorney, and case specifics.
Missouri DWI Classes (SATOP)
In Missouri when you are arrested for DWI you typically have to go to a class called SATOP. The way it works is you initially have to schedule a screening, which determines which class you go into. The total cost just to do the screening is $375. Then there is an additional cost for the class, depending on which class you get. If you get the level one class, it is an additional $130. It goes all the way up to level four. If you get the level four class, there is an additional $1,500 that you have to pay.
We Know Missouri DWI Laws
If you have been arrested for a DWI in Missouri, we can answer all of your questions and provide aggressive, ethical representation.
Missouri DWI Expungement
Missouri DWI Expungement
The Missouri DWI statute addressing DWI expungements is unique. Apart from the Missouri DWI expungement, the legislature added other categories of offenses that can be removed from your record. The offenses include some nonviolent felonies as well as misdemeanors.
If you wish to request for expungement, you must meet all requirements laid out in Missouri DWI statute.
First, you must prove that your DWI charge was the first alcohol-related driving offense.
Second, you must show that the offense was a misdemeanor and not a serious felony.
Third, you must prove that you were not convicted within the last ten years.
Fourth, you must prove that you have not been charged with a second Missouri DWI offense. Lastly, you must provide proof that you do not have any alcohol-related pending charges at the time of the Missouri DWI expungement request.
A Missouri DWI Laws Specialist
Were you charged with Driving While Intoxicated? If so, put a FORMER PROSECUTOR on your side.
If you’ve been charged with DWI, don’t wait until your court date to talk with an attorney about your charge. Being pulled over for a DWI can have significant consequences.
Missouri DWI, BAC, DUI Explained
BAC is a slightly different charge and can be applied any time a blood, breath or urine test shows the driver operated a car, truck or other motor vehicles in Missouri with a BAC of .08 or beyond.
In contrast, a person is guilty of a DWI if “he operates a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated or drugged condition.”
The primary difference is that a Missouri driver can be convicted of a DWI if the impairment is proven without evidence of an actual BAC exceeding .08, but a BAC charge requires conclusive evidence of a .08 BAC or higher.
These are two separate charges and the nuances can be very confusing. DWIs and other alcohol-related offenses are perhaps the most technically challenging court case due to the testing, changing protocols, and reliance on the officer’s perception.
It’s highly advisable to speak with a DWI lawyer in Missouri, who consistently works to improve their knowledge of the prevailing testing methods, prosecution strategies and trends in Missouri law enforcement.
Missouri DWI License Issues
License Issues Resulting from a DWI
Are you wondering what will happen with your driver’s license because you received a ticket for DWI? Depending on if you refused a breath test or provided a breath sample, different actions must be taken to fight the loss of your driver’s license. An experienced DWI lawyer can help. If you do nothing, your license will be suspended or revoked 15 days after you were given notice of your upcoming license suspension or revocation.
Call our DWI lawyer today to find out how we can help fight the loss of your driver’s license by requesting and conducting a hearing. You may qualify for a temporary driving privilege in the meantime. License suspensions may also occur based on the DWI ticket you received after it is resolved in the court system. These license suspensions may run concurrently with (at the same time as) the suspensions listed above. Contact an experienced DWI attorney to find out more information.
License Loss Caused by Missouri DWI Laws
Refusal versus Providing a Breath Sample:
A refusal can lead to a one-year license suspension and there is a deadline on the time to file a Petition with the Circuit Court to fight the license loss. Providing a breath sample can lead to a shorter suspension and the time-frame to request a hearing regarding this type of suspension is much shorter but easier to file.
Missouri DWI Laws on Limited Driving Privilege
For 5 and 10 year denials, a Petition must be filed in court to receive a limited driving privilege. If you would like to apply for a limited driving privilege, please call our office to schedule an appointment.
Additionally, some circumstances will keep an individual from obtaining a limited driving privilege.
Reinstatement after a DWI in Missouri
There are generally three requirements to be reinstated after a DWI. Other requirements may be present also. The three general requirements are:
- a $45 reinstatement fee.
- Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program (SATOP). SATOP consists of two parts: (1) a screening process which determines which educational or rehabilitation program will be required and (2) the program itself. The program assigned is subject to review through the court. This means that some individuals assigned to a specific program can request a court review to determine if that particular program is required for that individual.
- SR22 Insurance (unless you are under 21 years of age). SR22 is a certificate of insurance that you can request your insurance agency to provide to the Missouri Department of Revenue.
Additionally, with a second or subsequent DWI offense, you may be required to have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in any vehicle you operate. This is a device that must be blown into to register the operator of the vehicle’s breath alcohol concentration (BrAC). These units are now equipped with GPS and a camera to verify the operator of the vehicle is the person blowing into the IID.
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