Missouri DUIs and DWIs
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DUI offenses in Missouri typically result in harsh consequences, including license suspensions and possible jail or prison sentences, governed by state courts and the MO Department of Revenue (DOR). DUI and DWI charges are generally brought against drivers caught operating a vehicle with an excess of blood alcohol content (BAC) or who refuse to submit to chemical testing when requested by a law enforcement officer. The severity of the subsequent penalties will depend on the offender’s age, the level of BAC, the number of prior violations on his/her driving history and more.
Licensees in violation of state DUI laws may first incur license suspensions or revocations, which are separate from any actions imposed by the corresponding court. To reinstate a suspended license, motorists will need to complete specific steps imposed by the DOR. Find out more about Missouri DUI offenses and the related consequences in the following sections.
DUI Citations and Convictions in Missouri
Drivers with a DWI arrest in MO due to a high BAC may receive a DWI traffic ticket by the arresting officer, which will further result in harsher consequences. Licensees who fail to dismiss their summons in court, and are therefore convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI), will incur demerit points on their driving record. Several DUI offenses in Missouri resulting in demerit points usually lead to a suspension or revocation of the offender’s privilege to drive. Additional fines and other consequences may apply as well.
Missouri Under the Influence Violations and Penalties
Drivers are subject to Missouri DUI penalties if their BAC level is above the legal limit at the time of testing, they have refused to take a chemical testing or have been caught operating a vehicle while intoxicated. DUI consequences may be processed both by the presiding court (criminal law) or MO DOR (administrative law).
While drivers with a first DUI on their record generally face lower fines and shorter license suspensions periods, repeat offenders will incur a revocation of their license in addition to steep fines and a longer jail sentence.
First DUI Offense
Licensees getting a DUI in Missouri for the first time will be subject to an administrative 90-day license suspension with the possibility to request a restricted license. In the event of a conviction due to an illegal amount BAC level, motorists will be required to pay a fine of up to $500 and spend a maximum of 6 months in prison, in addition to a 90-day license suspension.
Second DUI Offense
If you are convicted of a Missouri second DUI, you will incur a fine of up to $1,000 and will be required to serve a jail sentence of up to one year. Note that a 1-year revocation of your credential will apply as well. If you have committed a violation for the second time within 5 years, you will be subject to a license denial for a 5-year period.
Third and Subsequent DUI Offenses
Drivers charged with DUI for a third or more time result in even harsher penalties, including a maximum fine of $5,000 and up to 15 years in prison. Also, a third DUI conviction will result in a 10-year license revocation.
Note: Causing bodily injury or death to another person while driving under the influence in Missouri is also considered a serious violation of state DUI laws and will lead to up to 7 years in prison, a maximum fine of $5,000 and/or loss of the offender’s license for a period of 5 years.
Drinking and Driving in Missouri
Driving intoxicated in Missouri or operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs is highly dangerous, and it usually has deadly consequences both for the driver and others on the road. Motorists consuming even small amounts of alcohol will have their ability to drive impaired and may cause serious car crashes resulting in the loss of a human life. Due to the severity of DUI offenses, state agencies impose even stricter motor vehicle laws and punishments for those who violate them.
Missouri DUI Attorneys
Seeking help from an experienced drunk driving attorney in Missouri is often necessary when motorists fail to stay in accordance with the set laws pertaining to DUI and DWI. Hiring a DWI lawyer is a step that should not be avoided, especially by drivers with several violations on their driving transcript, as they are at risk of incurring harsher penalties than first-time offenders. A DUI defense attorney must be able to help drivers choose the best course of action and reduce their sentence to a minimum.
Reinstating a Suspended Drivers License in Missouri
Both the Missouri DOR and state courts are authorized to issue an MO DUI drivers license suspension or revocation as a punishment for a committed misdemeanor. If you have incurred a DUI suspended license due to a high BAC level or test refusal, you will be required to restore your credential as soon as possible.
Drivers who apply to reinstate their DUI suspended license in MO will need to meet the following requirements:
- Pay the set reinstatement fee and other fines (if applicable).
- Present proof of a completed DUI traffic school program.
- Submit proof of future financial responsibility.
- Install an ignition interlock device (IID) and maintain it for a minimum of 6
Note: When reinstating your license after getting a DUI in Missouri, you may be required to complete additional steps, such as retaking the driver exam, depending on your circumstances.
Missouri Alcohol Awareness Classes
Completing Missouri DUI classes is often a requirement imposed on drivers who have incurred a license suspension/revocation. By enrolling into a DUI class, also referred to as a Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program (SATOP) or another similar program, drivers can learn more about the influence of alcohol on safe driving, thus avoiding such violations in the future. Participation in these DUI courses in MO may also be required as a result of a court order, plea bargain or condition of probation.
Missouri SR-22 Insurance
Part of the requirements to restore a DUI suspended license in Missouri upon committing a DWI or DUI violation is submitting proof of vehicle insurance to a nearby MO DOR office. Drivers filing MO DUI insurance with the DOR can submit an SR-22 insurance form to complete this step. Licensees presenting insurance after any DUI convictions must ensure they maintain it for a period of 2 years, otherwise, they will face a license suspension as a result.
Missouri Laws That Pertain to DUI/DWI
Under Missouri DUI laws, including the Implied Consent law, serious drunk driving charges will be brought against drivers with a BAC level above the legal limit while operating a vehicle, as well as for refusing to submit to a chemical testing. Drivers younger than 21 years of age may face a DWI arrest and conviction on your record for a BAC as low as .02 percent. Licensees 21 years of age or older will be penalized with severe consequences, including a notice of suspension if the chemical test measures a BAC of .08 percent or more. Refusing to undergo chemical testing is also considered a serious DUI offense in MO, generally resulting in a 1-year license revocation.
Note: The Missouri open container law explicitly states that drivers shall not consume alcohol while operating motor vehicles, however, the law does not extend to passengers.
Hardship License in Missouri
While completing your MO DUI drivers license suspension period, you may be eligible to apply for a restricted driving privilege (RDP) or a limited driving privilege (LDP). If you have no other DWI convictions on your driving report, you may request a 60- or 90-day restricted license, provided you meet the eligibility criteria, which includes the installation of an IID on any motor vehicle you use.
If you have one or more DUI violations in Missouri on your record and a revoked license as a result, you will not be able to obtain an RDP, but may be eligible to request an LDP. When requesting either of these credentials, you will need to submit the proper documentation, such as a completed application form, proof of installation of an IID (if applicable) and proof of SR-22 insurance (if necessary).