Arrested and charged with DWI in 2017? You should know that recent law changes may affect the outcome of your DWI case and how you are charged. How serious your charges and their consequences are will depend on many factors, but one of the most important is if any previous DWIs are on your record. This factor will also determine how your DWI is categorized. Your first DWI in Missouri will likely be categorized as a misdemeanor (as long as no one is injured). If this isn’t your first offense, the rules become slightly more complicated.

Missouri DWI/DUI Offenses: Basic Facts Regarding The New DWI Law

Misdemeanor Offenses

  • For your first DWI offense in the state of Missouri, you will likely be charged with a “Class B” misdemeanor, unless there are people under the age of 17 in the vehicle with you at the time of the offense. In that instance, you can be charged with a “Class A” misdemeanor. Misdemeanors are less severe than felonies and may be able to be expunged from your criminal record after a certain period.
    • For all “Class B” misdemeanors, you can face up to 6 months of jail time, a 30-day license suspension, fines of up to $1,000.00, and/or other penalties.
    • For all “Class A” misdemeanors, you can face up to 1 year of jail time, fines of up to $2,000.00, a license revocation of up to a year, and/or additional penalties.
    • Note: If someone is injured while you were driving while intoxicated, then you may be charged with a “Class E” Felony (a new class of felonies). I will go over the new felony classes in another post.

  • For your second Missouri DWI, you will likely be charged with a “Class A” misdemeanor if you are a “prior offender”.
    • A “prior offender” is someone who has been found guilty of one intoxication-related traffic offense within the five years prior to the current charge;
    • What are “intoxicated-related” traffic offenses? Driving while intoxicated, driving with excessive blood alcohol content (BAC), driving under the influence of drugs in violation of a county or municipal ordinance, or any instance where a person was operating a vehicle while intoxicated and another person was injured or killed in violation of state law, county or municipal ordinance, any federal offense, or any military offense
    • For all “Class A” misdemeanors, you can face up to 1 year of jail time, fines of up to $2,000.00, a license revocation of up to a year, and/or additional penalties.

It’s important to note that the above conditions may change given the circumstances of your particular DWI offense or any harm which was caused. If, for example, you were charged with a DWI after causing a car accident which injured an innocent victim, your charges may be significantly more severe. When other individuals or property becomes damaged, extra jail time may additionally be included. There is completely new class of Felonies for DWI Charges (E Felony) which will be covered in a later post for felony offenses.

A DWI Case Can Drastically Change with the Right Legal Help

When you’re first convicted of a DWI, the future may seem bleak—especially if you’re immediately arrested. No matter the consequences, remember that your future can change quickly with the right help on your side. With the assistance of a Columbia, MO DWI lawyer like Mike Campbell, jail time and a lengthy suspension can turn into consequences much less severe. With a knowledgeable attorney, it’s even possible to erase a DWI from your record completely.

Even if your particular situation looks grim, don’t hesitate to contact someone who can help. Mike Campbell will do whatever he can to fight for your rights and ensure you’re able to provide for your loved ones. Don’t let a DWI ruin your future. Give our office a call to learn more.

The following statutes were reviewed and referenced in compiling the above information:
577.00.1 R.S.Mo. (definitions);
577.010.1 R.S.Mo. (Sentencing restrictions/offense classifications);
558.011.1 R.S.Mo. (Sentencing guidelines);
558.002.1 (Fine guidelines)

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