If you have been convicted of a crime, you can explore other remedies with help from a post-conviction attorney. First, the conviction must be final. It is final when the deadline for filing appeals has passed, or your appeals have been denied. While this can seem like a hopeless time, your attorney can determine if…
First Offense DWI Laws in Missouri
A first offense DWI in Missouri is generally a Class B Misdemeanor. However, you can be convicted if the prosecutor proves that you had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher or showed signs of impairment. Also, if you are under the legal drinking age, you could face a conviction if you had a BAC of 0.02% or higher at the time of your arrest. Learn about the potential penalties so you will understand the possible outcomes.
Potential penalties for first offense DWI
A DWI is the same thing as a DUI in Missouri. The two terms are used interchangeably. If convicted, people face up to a $500 fine, a maximum of six months in jail, and a suspended license. Some defendants reduce the penalties by pleading to lesser charges, while others get deferred sentences. The court has some desertion when sentencing defendants, so penalties vary. Generally, the higher the BAC, the greater the penalties.
While first-time offenders can go to jail for up to six months, most receive a suspended sentence. However, those with a BAC of 0.15-2% must serve a minimum of 48 hours. People who have a BAC over 0.2% will spend a minimum of five days in jail. Also, the judge might require that defendants undergo random testing for drugs and alcohol. If found under the influence, the judge can lift the suspension and send the defendant to jail for up to six months.
Driver’s license suspension
Missouri suspends drivers’ licenses for a first offense DWI. Typically, the state suspends the license for 90 days. However, drivers might be eligible for a restricted license after 30 days if they install an ignition interlock device. A restricted license allows people to drive to school and work. Unlike jail time and fines, the license suspension occurs automatically.
Suspended imposition of sentence
First-time offenders might be eligible for a suspended imposition of sentence. The defendant pleads guilty, but the court does not impose a sentence. A suspended imposition of sentence is an agreement that includes stipulations that the defendant must follow to avoid the conviction. There is some discretion when creating this agreement. However, it normally requires that the defendant stays out of trouble for two years, avoid drinking for one to two years, and provide the court with random drug and alcohol samples.
While a suspended imposition of sentence is a good option for those who want to avoid getting a conviction on the record, they must commit to following the guidelines. Those who violate the terms are sentenced, and the judge might not be lenient. People who break the agreement might get the maximum fine and jail sentence. Also, the conviction will go on the record.
Get legal help for a DWI
If you have been charged with a DWI, you might think that a conviction is the next course of action. However, an attorney can go over your options. Depending on the evidence, your attorney might be able to dismiss the charges or suspend the sentence. Find out what to expect by contacting an attorney for a consultation.
Call us at (417) 865-2181 for more information from Dean Price Law or to schedule a consultation in our office in Springfield.
NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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