In Missouri, driving under the influence (DUI) is also called driving while intoxicated (DWI). Driving while intoxicated is a criminal charge. According to state law, you are guilty of the crime if two things occur. The first element is that you were operating a motor vehicle. Second, you had a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, at or higher than the legal limit. The state’s legal limit is .08 percent. Blood alcohol concentration refers to the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream.
Probable Cause is Needed to Pull You over for DWI.
A DWI charge typically occurs in one of two ways. The most common way is during a traffic stop. A traffic stop requires probable cause. Probable cause is a police officer belief that a crime had occurred. The probable cause must be more than a suspicion, but less than hard evidence. Probable cause rarely has anything to do with DWI. Typically, a person would be accused of: running a red light, speeding, not yielding.
After the stop, a police officer will observe you to determine if you are intoxication. The determination is the probable cause needed to request you take a breathalyzer test. This means you must break a law prior to a police officer having probable cause that you were allegedly operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
A second way a DWI charge occurs is after a car accident. A police officer on the scene may determine, using probable cause, that you were allegedly intoxicated. This means you may be cited or charge for a crime in addition to the DWI charge.
Probable cause does not mean automatic guilt. That will be decided in court. It just means that the police had a legal suspension that you were driving while intoxicated.
DWI in Missouri has Two Separate Punishments.
If you are accused of DWI in Missouri
A dui St. Charles lawyer will have two tasks: resolving the criminal and administrative matter. The state has a criminal statute that we’ve been discussing. If convicted of DWI, you may face time in jail, fines and license suspension. For instance, a first time DWI conviction is six months in county jail and $500 fine. You can lose your license suspension for 30 days.
A third DUI offense is punishable by four years in prison and $5,000 fine. You will lose your license for about 10 years. You will have install an installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle to operate it.
Missouri has an administrative DWI law that imposes a separate punishment. This punishment does not have a jail or prison sentence attached to it. Instead, the Department of Motor Vehicle has the legal right to suspend or revoke you driving privileges. This suspension automatically. You have to fight to prevent the punishment from being longer by scheduling an administrative hearing.
DWI in Missouri is Serious because of the Legal Consequences.
Drinking prior to operating a motor vehicle is has serious consequences. It’s best never to be accused of the crime. However, if you are, understand that you are facing two separate fights: administrative and criminal.