Your St. Louis DWI Case: The Basics

Ever since childhood, you've always loved your Saint Louis Cardinals. Stan Musial, Ozzie Smith, Mark McGwire. You have all their autographs. Opening day at Busch Stadium is like a national holiday. And what could possibly be better than devouring turkey legs, spicy corn nuggets, and overpriced beer? Ballpark brews just always taste better for some reason.

Sadly, your day of baseball fun didn't end so great. You decided to drive home after consuming more beers than you could count. The Metropolitan Police arrested you for a DWI. Now what? If you or someone you know has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both in The STL, you're probably wondering what will happen next. Here are some things to know if you've been arrested and charged with a DWI in Saint Louis.

Saint Louis DWI

In Saint Louis, there are two ways a driver can be in violation of are the DWI laws which can lead to charges of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI):

  1. The first is if you are driving and determined to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs;
  2. The second way is if you are driving and your chemical test (blood, breath, or urine) result is 0.08%. Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or higher.

 

How Can I Be in Violation of the DWI Laws?

Under the first scenario, the Saint Louis prosecutor would need to prove you were driving a vehicle after having consumed alcohol or drugs, or a combination, which makes you substantially incapable, either mentally or physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation your car. You can be found guilty of DWI in even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is less than 0.08. Usually your driving and/or field sobriety tests show you are mentally or physically impaired.

Under the second scenario, your blood or breath alcohol content is 0.08 or more. Period. When that happens, it gives rise to a fancy legal phrase called a "rebuttable presumption." Basically, if your BAC is .08 or higher, it's probably going to spell trouble for your case.

Saint Louis DWI's Carry Two Separate Penalties

When you are arrested for a DWI, you'll have to handle two separate entities: the Missouri Department of Revenue/DMV and the Saint Louis criminal courts. This is because the DMV will handle your license suspension pursuant to the implied consent laws and the courts will deal with your criminal case.

In other words, the DMV administrative hearing and the criminal case are two separate cases. Neither one has any bearing whatsoever on the other.

What if I Refuse the Blood or Breath Test?

Check out law for yourself. If you refused the test, your driving privileges are revoked for one (1) year. However, if it is your first DWI, you can apply for a hardship license after 90 days. The refusal goes on the your driving record and stays for five years.

Can I Get a Hardship License?

Maybe. If you were convicted or refused a chemical test, you may be eligible for "Limited Driving Privileges." This would allow you to drive under very specific circumstances such as to and from work.

There are several reasons why a hardship license may not be granted. Some of those reasons include if you were convicted of a felony driving offense, not paying child support, or having your license suspended in another state.

This is an area of law where you may wish to seek the advice of a Saint Louis criminal attorney.

Potential DWI Consequences

The courts impose criminal penalties including:

  • Fines;
  • Jail Time;
  • Public Service.

The DMV imposes administrative penalties including:

  • Suspension or Revocation of your license.

Here's a look at some of the penalties. Remember, the higher your BAC, the more severe the penalties. Multiple convictions will also result in harsher penalties. You'll also have to pay DWI fines. Word of caution -- they aren't cheap.

1st DWI

  • Up to Six Months Jail
  • Up to a $500 Fine
  • 30 day License Suspension of driving privileges followed by a 60 day restriction to driving only to and from work, in the course of employment, or to an alcohol treatment program.

DWI With One Prior Conviction

  • Up to One Year Jail
  • Up to a $1,000 Fine
  • Community Service of 30 days is required for probation
  • You will be required to take and pass both the written and driving portions of the Missouri Driving Test
  • Possible Ignition Interlock Device is required for 1 month

DUI with Two or More Previous Convictions

  • Charged as a Class D Felony
  • Up to Four Years Jail
  • Up to a $5,000 Fine
  • 60 Days Community Service
  • 10 Year Driver's License Suspension

Important -- All Missouri DWI offenders are required to complete SATOP, the Missouri Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program, before their license is reinstated. Depending on your BAC at the time of arrest, you may also be required to complete an intensive weekend intervention program.

DWI Under 21 Years

All those drivers under age 21 should read this. Thinking about drinking and driving? Bad move. Missouri has zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving.
If you are driving and have a BAC of .02 or more, you'll receive administrative and criminal penalties as an adult driver.

Will a DUI Conviction Go On My Driving Record?

Absolutely. A DUI conviction will go on your Saint Louis driving and criminal record. You may be able to get the conviction expunged from your criminal record after a period of time. However, recent laws may restrict your ability to receive an expungement.

Remember, it's best to never drink or use drugs and drive. Select a designated driver ahead of time, who will stay sober. If you're impaired and don't have a designated driver, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation. If you do find yourself facing a DWI, you may wish to contact a criminal defense lawyer or the public defender's office.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.