Missouri DUI Basics
Drunk driving charges in Missouri are broken into the categories of driving while intoxicated and driving under the influence. Each offense has different consequences and varies depending the circumstances of the incident. Missouri law prosecutes drunk driving offenses in two different ways. Drunk driving offenses can be prosecuted on the grounds that an individual was impaired while driving.
The prosecuting attorney will provide sufficient evidence to uphold these charges. Evidence can include field sobriety tests, driving patterns, physical appearance, blood alcohol content, and chemical tests. However under these charges an individual may be released even though his or her blood alcohol content level was above the legal limit. Dropped charges under these circumstances can happen as some individuals are not intoxicated despite having blood alcohol content levels above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Driving while intoxicated offenses can also be tried via per se law. Per se law prosecutes drunk driving through proving that an individual had a blood alcohol content percentage above the legal limit. The prosecuting attorney will not attempt to show that the individual was intoxicated while driving in per se law cases. An individual will be charged solely for the reason of have a blood alcohol content above 0.08 percent.
When an individual receives a driver’s license he or she gives implied consent to submit to chemical testing when requested by a police officer. If a police officer has reason to question an individual’s level of sobriety, he or she may legally ask for a blood alcohol content test, a urine test, or a breath test. If an individual refuses to submit to chemical testing, he or she will automatically have his or her driver’s license suspended.
Upon trial a jury or a judge will assume that test refusal is evidence of guilt. Normally an individual will have his or her driver’s license suspended upon a drunk driving charge, but when he or she refuses chemical testing the driver’s license suspension will have longer time periods and will be absolute.
Missouri DUI Consequences
Drunk driving offenses vary and depend on the number of prior offenses. Offenses can be aggravated if a minor was in the vehicle upon the arrest, if the individual was driving above the speed limit, if another was injured, or if the individual’s blood alcohol content was double the legal limit. A first DUI offense can result in a five hundred-dollar fine, no more than six months of imprisonment, two years of probation, a possible ignition interlock device, and driver’s license suspension for thirty days.
A second DUI offense can earn up to one year in jail, a fine up to one thousand dollars, two years of probation, a possible ignition interlock device, and driver’s license suspension for up to five years. A third DUI offense can earn up to four years of incarceration, a five thousand-dollar fine, and driver’s license suspension for up to ten years. A fourth DUI offense can earn up to seven years of incarceration, up to five thousand dollars in fines, and driver’s license suspension for a minimum of ten years. All third or subsequent DUI offenses are considered felony offenses.