Like all states, Missouri has specific laws prohibiting driving while intoxicated (DWI)—and disciplining those who do. Driving drunk is extremely dangerous for everyone on the road. A driver may experience drowsiness, slower reaction times, blurred vision, inability to concentrate or over-confidence. Any of these physical effects could cause an accident. This difficulty increases with winter weather conditions, which can necessitate lightning-fast reaction times on slippery roads or excellent awareness in the event of a storm.
Driving while intoxicated is against the law. The penalties for a DWI in Missouri depend on whether an individual has prior convictions and what their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is when arrested.
For a first-time DWI, the penalties could be both criminal and administrative. These might include:
- A ticket. Note: A driver can contest this in a provided hearing to attempt to get a lesser conviction or reduced sentence.
- Points added to your driver’s license, which can result in license suspension or revocation. A 90-day suspension is typical for a first offense. The driver may or may not be eligible for a restricted license.
- Separate license suspension for a BAC limit of 0.08 or higher–or if the driver refuses to take the sobriety test. Missouri is an implied consent state, meaning every driver asked to complete a sobriety test must do so. Even if a court reduces the ticket or license suspension in the hearing mentioned above, this separate suspension stays in effect.
- Class B misdemeanor, which requires jail time from 48 hours to 6 months. The BAC determines the time spent in jail.
- Possible fine of up to $1,000.
A DWI is a serious charge, and a Class B misdemeanor stays on your record. Don’t hesitate to try to get a reduction in charges via the provided hearing. Missouri is one of the few states that allow this, and it’s best to take advantage.