Important Differences to Know Between DWI and DUI in Missouri

DWI Springfield, MO

You know that DWI stands for “driving while impaired” and DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” While it might seem like the charges are different, DUI and DWI are interchangeable terms in Missouri. You can also be charged with driving under the influence of drugs, or DUID, in the state. This can be a bit confusing, so take a closer look at charges for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol in Missouri

DWI is the legal term of choice in the state of Missouri. Most drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% and above can be charged with DWI. The DWI threshold is reduced to a BAC of 0.04% when driving a commercial vehicle and 0.02% for drivers under the age of 21. Those who are caught with drugs in their systems are charged with a DUID instead of a DWI.

Missouri DWI and DUID punishments

The penalties are the same for DWI and DUIDs in Missouri. First-time offenders are charged with Class B Misdemeanors. Along with receiving points on the driver’s license, those convicted can get up to six months in jail and a fine. The driver’s license is also suspended for a minimum of 30 days, which might be followed by a restricted license. Some people might be eligible to receive a limited license sooner.

The fine and jail time can double with a second offense. Also, the court might suspend the license for a full year. After the license is reinstated, the driver might have to use an ignition interlock device. The vehicle will not start until the driver blows into the device.

The third and subsequent offenses are felonies in Missouri. Drivers can expect hefty fines and a lengthy prison sentence if convicted of a felony DWI or DUID. Also, the court will likely suspend the license for much longer. Once reinstated, drivers can expect to have ignition interlock devices.

The threshold for DUID charges

Missouri law does not have a specific limit for drugs when charging people with DUIDs. Police officers can charge at their discretion if they believe the amount of substances has impaired the driver’s abilities. Officers can charge people with DUIDs when driving under the influence of illegal and legal drugs, including cough medications. The penalties are the same, regardless of if the drug is legal or illegal. Of course, those with illegal drugs could face additional charges along with the DUID charge.

Fighting DWI charges in Missouri

You might not be sure of what to do when facing charges of a DWI in Missouri. Regardless of what you do, you will face stiff penalties. Based on the circumstances of your case, you might be able to build a legal defense, though. Before moving forward with your case, consult with an attorney. Your attorney can explain the legal process and your options.

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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