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DWI Penalties: Exploring the Legal Consequences of Drunk Driving
DWI charges are common in Missouri, but the penalties can be anything but minor. If a court finds you guilty of drunk driving, you could face jail time, steep fines, and forfeiture of your driver’s license. It is important to be aware of the consequences of this offense. This can help you not only avoid driving while intoxicated but be prepared in your defense case. An experienced attorney can represent you and protect your rights and interests.
The parameters and factors of DWI law in Missouri
Like all U.S. states, Missouri has certain guidelines that govern drunk driving charges and convictions. In Missouri, there is no driving under the influence (DUI) statute. Instead, the law uses driving while intoxicated (DWI) and does not separate the two. A DWI can also include factors when a person is driving in a drugged condition. The blood alcohol content threshold for a DWI is 0.08% or more. Any intoxication that impairs a person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle can be enough for a conviction.
Penalties for a first offense
A first-time DWI offense is a Class B misdemeanor in Missouri. Upon conviction, the defendant could receive a six-month jail sentence in the county where the infraction took place. In addition, the person could face a fine of up to $500. The court could impose both penalties or one or the other. A court-ordered treatment program may also be part of the sentence.
If a person is guilty of a DWI for a second time, the charge is a Class A misdemeanor. There is a minimum sentence of 10 days in jail, but the person could serve up to one year. Fines could reach up to $1,000 and could be in addition to a jail term. The sentence will include a DWI court program or community service as well.
A DWI can rise to a Class D felony if the person has a charge and conviction for the third time. Under this designation, the courts refer to the individual as a persistent offender. The mandatory minimum jail sentence is 30 days. However, the court could impose a one-year sentence in a county jail or up to four years in prison. Fines reaching $5,000 can also be a part of the sentence. Moreover, the person may need to complete 60 days of community service.
Fourth and fifth offenses
For a fourth offense, the individual is an aggravated offender and faces a Class C felony. Fifth offenses are Class B felonies and are considered chronic DWI offenders. After a fourth offense conviction, the offender will pay up to $5,000 in fines and could serve as many as seven years in prison. Fifth-time offenders will serve no fewer than five years in prison and as many as 15.
Contact a Missouri DWI lawyer today
DWI penalties are severe and carry significant penalties. Your case can be life-altering. If you have a charge, you need legal assistance to help you understand your rights and the consequences. Contact an attorney today if you face DWI charges.
Call (417) 865-2181 today to reach Dean Price Law. NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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