When facing a DWI charge in Missouri, drivers should understand the penalties they could receive for a conviction. Even a first offense carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence.
Learn more about the administrative and criminal penalties for a Missouri DWI and prepare to defend your rights before the judge.
First-time DWI sentence
Missouri defines DWI as blood alcohol content above 0.08% while behind the wheel. Offenders who have no prior convictions receive 48 hours in jail, up to $1,000 in fines and a 30-day license suspension. You can apply for a restricted license with an ignition interlock device after 30 days. If your measured BAC is higher than 0.20%, the mandatory minimum jail sentence increases to five days.
Second DWI offense
Second-time DWI offenders convictions result in a minimum 30-day jail sentence, part of which the judge can convert to community service. You will lose your license for at least one year or up to five years if the first conviction took place fewer than five years ago. Potential fines increase to $2,000.
Third and fourth DWI
If you get another DWI after a second offense, you will lose your license for at least 10 years. The mandatory minimum jail sentence is 60 days for the third offense and two years for the fourth offense. Fines for multiple sentences often exceed $10,000.
Drivers can take steps to protect their interests in court. For example, some counties allow offenders to avoid jail time by spending time in an alcohol treatment facility. In extenuating circumstances, such as a DWI that causes injury, you could receive increased penalties.
Keep in mind that Missouri is an implied consent state. Even if you have been drinking, you should allow the arresting officer to administer a breath test. Otherwise, you will receive a one-year license suspension in addition to other penalties associated with your case.