Gladstone Missouri DWI Defense Blog

How to get around after a DUI

If you are under arrest for driving under the influence in Missouri, many aspects of your life will change. One major inconvenience is the suspension of your license, and this can cause many issues, especially if you have a job or have children you need to get to and from activities. The good news is you may be eligible for a restricted license, which allows you to get around and live a more normal life. 

According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, Restricted Driving Privilege is only available for first-time offenders, not for drivers with prior DUI convictions. Before you are eligible for an RDP, you must serve a 30-day license suspension period. After that, you may receive a 60-day RDP for limited purposes including education, employment, ignition interlock provider and alcohol treatment. 

Are DUI checkpoints legal in Missouri?

As a driver in Missouri, you may be familiar with DUI checkpoints. Law enforcement departments may set up these checkpoints with the intent to catch people who are driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. While sobriety checkpoints are legal in Missouri, under both federal and state laws, state funding for checkpoints has decreased significantly over the years. Some law enforcement departments have turned to using saturation patrol as an alternative to DUI checkpoints. However, some people are petitioning the state to reconsider the decreased budget and reinstate more DUI checkpoints.

If you do come across a DUI checkpoint while you are out driving, there are certain requirements that law enforcement officers must uphold when conducting them. First, the locations of DUI checkpoints may be posted so that you aware of their location beforehand. At each DUI checkpoint location, proper signage should warn you that you are approaching a checkpoint. There is no reason why you cannot turn your vehicle around to avoid the checkpoint if you wish, as long as you can do so in a safe manner.

What is an ignition interlock device?

If you have been charged and convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in Missouri, you may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. In Missouri, and in many other states across the nation, there are certain repercussions following a DUI. In a case where there is a first-time offender, the judge may use his or her discretion when ordering use of an ignition interlock device. When you have more than one DUI charge, you must have a device installed in your vehicle for at least six months once you get your driver’s license reinstated. What are ignition interlock devices and how do they keep you from driving under the influence?

Interlock devices are installed directly into the ignition system of your vehicle and include a dashboard monitor. Some devices may also include a camera. Before you can start your vehicle, you must blow a breath sample into a tube that is connected to the device. The machine then evaluates your blood alcohol content level and determines whether you are under a preset limit. If you pass, your vehicle will start, and you are able to drive. While you are driving, however, you will be prompted to submit periodic breath samples to ensure you are still under the limit. If at any time your breath sample reads over the limit, your vehicle will either alert you to pull over and stop or it will not start in the first place.

DWI under 21: What consequences do you face?

When you got invited to that freshman social, you never dreamed it would end in getting a DWI, but it did. Now, you get to face the music both at home and in court. Because you fall under the legal drinking threshold of 21, you got a few extra charges added on top. What do all these charges mean for your present and future?

In Missouri, getting caught driving while intoxicated is severe enough. However, add to it the fact that the offender is under 21, and the penalties that result may wind up costing you more.

How serious is a DUI involuntary manslaughter charge?

You wouldn’t leave your home intending for someone to be killed. Unfortunately for some in Missouri and elsewhere, a night out can end tragically, with someone dead and someone else behind bars for it. If you are facing DUI charges after a fatal accident, it is important to understand what may come next.

As FindLaw explains, involuntary manslaughter often pertains to an unintentional killing, as opposed to murder, when it is alleged that someone meant to cause fatal harm to another. If you were found with alcohol in your system after you were driving and in a car accident in which someone else was killed, you might be charged with first degree manslaughter. The “first degree” designation means law enforcement believe recklessness or criminal negligence – in other words, driving while intoxicated – contributed to the fatality.

How can a DWI conviction negatively impact your life?

No one wants to receive a DWI conviction. Not only could such it result in your spending considerable time in a Missouri jail or prison, it could also result in the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. In addition, as FindLaw explains, a DWI conviction could negatively impact your life in other ways as well. For instance, it could keep you from obtaining and/or keeping the jobs of your choice.

Should you be a college or post-grad student aspiring to work in a profession such as law, medicine, architecture, etc. that requires you to obtain a professional license, a DWI or any other criminal conviction on your record could result in the licensing board denying you a license. Should your preferred jobs require you to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License, you can rest assured that getting one could be well nigh impossible with a DWI conviction on your record.

Are breath test results accurate?

If you have ever been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving in Missouri, you may have been asked to take breath test. Law officers often use roadside breath tests to determine whether you are driving under the influence of alcohol. The problem lies in the fact that breath test results are not always accurate, and in some cases, the false results may lead to a wrongful DUI charge.

The most accurate way to determine your blood alcohol level content is by taking a blood sample. This isn’t feasible on the side of the road, so officers administer breath tests. These machines are designed to determine your blood alcohol content level by measuring the amount of ethnyl alcohol in an exhaled breath sample. Yet, there are several factors that can influence this level and cause it to increase. According to the State University of New York at Potsdam, these factors include the following:

  •          The relative humidity and temperature of the air
  •          Pollution levels
  •          Inhaling fumes from gasoline, cigarette smoke and cleaning fluid
  •          Residual food, drink, vomit or blood in the mouth
  •          Body temperature and physical activity

What happens if you refuse a breath test in Missouri?

When you sign and submit your driver's license application in Missouri, you agree to succumb to a chemical test should an officer request one of you. Lawmakers refer to this particular agreement as "implied consent." While you may refuse to take a breath test regardless of the implied consent law, the state of Missouri will punish you for breach of contract by revoking your driving privileges for one year. This is known as "Chemical Revocation."

According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, Chemical Revocation is an alcohol-related offense. If you have such an offense on your record, the law mandates that you complete a Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program (SATOP) or a comparable course. You must complete this program to regain your driving privileges.

Missouri DWI checkpoints: What you should never do

DWI checkpoints have been a point of contention in Missouri for many years. For the second straight year in a row, the state has lost funding for such checkpoints. However, they still pop up, and you need to prepare for them. 

Driving while under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense. A single arrest and conviction are enough to impact what kind of jobs you can get in the future. People, both those sober and under the influence, make mistakes at these checkpoints, and you should avoid doing the following at all costs. 

Take the right road to reclaim your privileges

Keeping your license would probably be one of your first priorities if you were arrested for a DUI in Missouri. After all, you could only expect to depend on your friends and family for a certain amount of time before you start to feel like a burden.

However, it is often far from simple to retain driving privileges — or get them back — after a DUI. There are typically only a handful of options available to you. At the Law Office of Keleher and Eastman, we would make it our first priority to walk you through each feasible process to regain your rights.