In the state of Missouri, you can be arrested for driving while intoxicated if you have a blood alcohol content above .08 percent. For drivers under the legal drinking age of 21, the minimum BAC is only .02 percent, and for commercial drivers, it is .04 percent. The DWI law also applies to driving under the influence of illegal drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, or any other controlled substance. In a plea bargain, a DWI charge could possibly be reduced to reckless driving, also known as a “wet reckless.”
Implied Consent Law
If an officer stops you with probable cause for DWI, Missouri’s implied consent law states that you must take a chemical test or be subject to automatic penalties. If you refuse to take a blood, breath or urine test, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year. If this is not the first offense or refusal, an ignition interlock device may also be installed on your vehicle.
Penalties for a DWI Conviction
Missouri DWI laws do not mandate any minimum jail time for driving while intoxicated. However, you could serve up to six months for a first DWI offense and up to one year for a second offense.
Your license will also be suspended for 30 days and restricted for another 60 days, and you may also be fined up to $500 for your first DWI. For a second DWI conviction, your license will be suspended for one year, and you face a potential fine of up to $1,000. An ignition interlock device may be installed on your vehicle, and you must pay a license reinstatement fee of $45.
Missouri has a “washout” or “lookback” time period of five years, so if you are convicted of a DWI more than five years after a first conviction, it will be treated as a first, rather than as a second, offense.
More than two DWIs may result in a felony conviction. You could potentially be charged with a Class D felony for a third DWI conviction, a Class C for a fourth DWI, or a Class B for a fifth DWI. If convicted of a DWI-related felony, you may serve up to five, 10, or 15 years for a Class D, C, or B felony, respectively. Furthermore, you may have to pay a fine of up to as much as $10,000. Additionally, your driver’s license will be revoked for a 10-year period no matter when your previous convictions occurred.
Changes in Missouri DWI Laws
In 2010, Missouri DWI laws were strengthened through the passage of House Bill 1695. A centralized database of DWI offenses was created, and specialized DWI courts were established to expedite alcohol treatment for repeat offenders. The law also prevents a first DWI from being expunged from your record if you have any other alcohol-related issue on record.