Columbia, MO DWI/DUI lawyer
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) charges can be extremely serious. These charges can follow you for the rest of your life if they’re not handled properly, impairing your ability to have a license, become employed, or gain other vital government privileges. You can also face significant jail time and heavy fines, further limiting your ability to live a normal, productive life. If you’ve been convicted of a DUI or DWI, you need to contact a Columbia, MO DWI lawyer right away.
The sooner you contact a lawyer, the better. If you plan on contacting one, make sure to not admit to any guilt during your conviction. Remember, you have a legal right to speak to an attorney and not anyone else at this point, so take advantage of that fact and say as little as possible. Don’t agree to any tests you’re not comfortable with, and try and find a witness who can speak on your behalf if at all possible.
What You Need to Know About DWI Convictions:
- Field sobriety tests: A police officer may ask for you to submit to multiple “field sobriety tests”, which include standing on one leg, the horizontal gaze nystagmus, reciting the alphabet, walk and turn, etc. Please know that you do not have to perform these tests. In fact, these tests are oftentimes used by police officers to prove that you are intoxicated instead of proving that you are not intoxicated. If you are asked by an officer to perform any field sobriety test, you have the right to say “no” to these tests.
- Administrative hearings involve an initial hearing before an administrative judge, usually in the county of your arrest.
- Your first DWI conviction might only be a misdemeanor, but it can involve lengthy license suspensions, jail time, and fines. Multiple DWI convictions can lead to a felony conviction on your record.
Understanding Missouri DWI Laws
If you are facing DWI charges in the state of Missouri, you should know there are two factors to every case:
- The first factor involves an administrative review regarding your license suspension. In Missouri, you must request an administrative review of your DWI arrest within 15 days of your arrest. If you do not request this review, then you will receive an automatic suspension of your license. A lawyer will be able to help you complete this step in time—even if you end up getting served with jail time.
- The other factor involves the criminal case which results from your arrest. This involves defending your case in court to fight against a conviction on your record. In addition to investigating the facts of your arrest for your administrative hearing, your criminal case may involve extensive discovery, hearings, motions, and a trial.
It’s important to remember that your rights should absolutely be defended, no matter the charges. After a DWI conviction, it can be easy to feel angry or guilty and just accept your charges at face value, but every American citizen—guilty or not—deserves a fair defense trial.
It may be possible that you were convicted unfairly, deserve a shorter sentence or less fines due to your intoxication level at the time and/or the lack of any previous convictions, or the breathalyzer tests you took part in were mishandled. DWI expungement is also a possibility depending on the specifics of your case. There are many legal opportunities available depending on the severity of your conviction.
The only way to know if any of these opportunities or conditions will apply to your case is to speak to a criminal defense lawyer and see what type of evidence is in your favor. An experienced attorney will be able to look at the evidence and argue fairly on your behalf. A successful trial can give you back your freedom and return you to your loved ones.
For an updated list of 2017’s DWI law changes and how the new misdemeanor offenses work in the state of Missouri, please see our recent blog.
Take Appropriate Action with a Columbia, MO DWI/DUI Lawyer
It’s no secret that the U.S. police system unfairly convicts innocent citizens of crimes every day. The police tend to come down extremely hard on intoxicated drivers—harder than they need to in many cases, especially those who have been convicted of their first DWI charge. If you feel you were wrongly convicted of a DWI or DUI or that your charges are too severe given your situation, you deserve a second opinion.
Don’t hesitate to speak to a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney like Mike Campbell, Columbia, MO DWI lawyer, to find out your legal options. Remember, time is of the essence regarding your license suspension. Call our offices today to learn more. If you need a license re-instatement, we can help you in that regard as well.