Gladstone Missouri DWI Defense Blog

Felony drunk driving charges in Missouri

In an instant, a drunk driving conviction can change a person’s life, making it difficult to get or hold down a job, to gain an education and to be approved for certain things, such as a rental application. Missouri residents with DUI charges can also face shame and embarrassment, as well as financial troubles from being required to pay fines and associated fees from the conviction, maintaining an ignition interlock device or enrolling in alcohol counseling sessions. These complications get even worse when a driver finds himself or herself with felony DUI charges.

As FindLaw explains, a first drunk driving offense in Missouri is usually a misdemeanor charge. However, some situations can result in felony charges, including the following:

  • Being involved in a drunk driving accident that results in someone’s bodily harm or death
  • Driving while intoxicated with children in the vehicle
  • Having an excessive blood alcohol content while driving
  • Getting a DUI while driving on a suspended or revoked license
  • Having multiple drunk driving convictions within a certain time frame

What is a hardship license, and am I eligible?

Losing your license after a drunk driving conviction does not mean that you no longer have to go to work or school or fulfill other important obligations where you would need your car. You and other Missouri residents in the same situation may wonder how to get by on a suspended license.

Obviously, you cannot simply risk driving without a license. To do so would only get you in further trouble if you are caught. You might rely on rides from friends or family, but that may be impractical, and you might feel bad about imposing upon them for too long. Taking the bus or an Uber can get expensive. You might be able to walk to some places, but your job and other destinations might be too far.

Can you get the job you want with DUI on your record?

If you are a college student, you have probably been planning for a certain career after graduation. If you have a drunk driving conviction on your record, your plan may no longer be workable.

A DUI/DWI will affect more than your career ambitions, however. Your entire future is at stake.

Missouri DUI penalties: What you should know

 

If you have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in Missouri, you may face steep penalties depending on whether you have former convictions, as well as how intoxicated you are at the time of your arrest. It is crucial that you understand how the process works so that you can maximize the outcome of your case.

What are ignition interlock devices?

If you have been charged and convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, you may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. Interlock devices are designed to keep you from driving while drunk. Once an interlock device is installed in your vehicle, you are restricted from driving if you have a blood alcohol content level that is above a certain, preset limit.

In order to start the vehicle, you must blow through a tube that is connected to a dashboard monitor. The machine will then determine your BAC level from the amount of alcohol detected in your exhaled breath sample. If the BAC level is under the preset amount, the car will start. Periodically during the drive, an alarm will sound asking you to submit another breath sample in order to keep the vehicle running. Information regarding failed startup attempts and failed rolling retests are stored within the device and transferred to law enforcement officials during interlock device maintenance appointments.

Can I lose my license for a DWI arrest?

If Missouri law enforcement officers arrest you for allegedly driving while intoxicated and/or under the influence of drugs, this alleged criminal offense also constitutes a secondary civil administrative offense. Under Section 302 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, the administrative sanction for this offense is a possible 90-day suspension of your driver's license or a possible one-year revocation.

Another DUI? Your employer may be looking for ways to fire you.

Are you facing a second or possibly third DUI charge in Missouri? Let's set aside the cost of fines, court costs and legal fees to discuss the true cost of a multiple conviction. For most people, keeping their jobs and careers intact will far outweigh the short-term cost of scraping together enough credit or savings to pay the financial cost. More than ever, in today's 24-hour news cycle, employers are growing increasingly concerned about holding onto employees whom they feel hurt their image in the community. No matter how many years it's been between your last DUI, it is more important than ever to fight the charges.

Are roadside breath tests really accurate?

If you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer in Missouri, you may be asked to submit to a roadside breath test. These devices are used to determine whether you are driving with a blood alcohol content level that is over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. The problem lies in the fact that many of these breath test devices do not always yield accurate results. Inflated results could cause you to be wrongfully charged and potentially convicted of a DUI.

Breath test devices are designed to measure the amount of alcohol in an exhaled breath sample, which is then converted to a blood alcohol content level. According to studies performed by the State University of New York at Potsdam, breath test readings can differ by nearly 15 percent compared to the BAC level obtained from measuring the amount of alcohol found from an actual blood sample. Furthermore, at least one in four drivers who use a breath test device will show inflated results. Why does this occur?

How to reinstate your license after a DWI

Getting a DWI was a major mistake you made. But it is in your past and you want to move forward. Unfortunately, if your driver’s license was suspended when you were charged you will have to go through the process of reinstating it.

Fortunately, the process is not too complicated, though it can vary depending on your particular circumstances. The requirements are also usually different state by state.  Generally, the process in Missouri consists of three steps:

3 crimes that can lead to driver's license revocation

Many people view driving as a right that they are entitled to and do not realize that it is, in fact, a privilege. You must satisfy several criteria to operate a vehicle legally, and when you fail to maintain these standards, you could lose your driving privileges. When your privileges are taken away for an extended period, your license might be revoked.

Many circumstances could lead to this point, but regardless of what has jeopardized your license, you should understand the options that you have. Talking to a legal representative can help you determine the best course of action. In the meantime, avoid any of the following crimes that could cause a revocation: