Driving while intoxicated (DWI) Law

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense with potentially severe consequences. As an attorney experienced in DWI law, Jim Knappenberger understands the complexities of Missouri’s legal framework surrounding DWI offenses.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits:
In Missouri, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. For drivers under the age of 21, the legal limit is reduced to 0.02%. Commercial drivers have a lower threshold of 0.04%.

Consequences of a DWI Conviction:
A DWI conviction in Missouri can result in various consequences, including fines, license suspension or revocation, mandatory substance abuse programs, probation, community service, and even incarceration. The severity of the penalties depends on factors such as prior convictions, the BAC level, and any aggravating circumstances.

Implied Consent:
In Missouri, drivers are subject to implied consent laws, which means that by operating a motor vehicle, you have already consented to chemical testing, such as a breathalyzer or blood test, if you are suspected of DWI. Refusing to undergo such testing can result in automatic license suspension.

Field Sobriety Tests:
Law enforcement officers may administer field sobriety tests to assess a driver’s level of impairment. These tests include the walk-and-turn, one-leg stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus tests. While these tests are used as indicators of impairment, they are not foolproof and can be challenged in court.

License Suspension and Administrative Hearings:
Upon a DWI arrest, your driver’s license may be suspended administratively (a civil matter), separate from any criminal proceedings. You have the right to request an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension. It is important to consult with an attorney promptly to protect your driving privileges.

DWI Penalties:
The penalties for a DWI conviction depend on several factors, including prior offenses. Penalties may include fines, license suspension or revocation, mandatory alcohol education programs, ignition interlock device installation, probation, and even imprisonment. Repeat offenses or aggravating factors can lead to enhanced penalties.

Defenses and Legal Representation:
If charged with a DWI in Missouri, it is crucial to seek legal representation promptly. A skilled DWI attorney like Jim Knappenberger can review the details of your case, challenge evidence, examine procedural errors, and assert any applicable defenses, such as unlawful traffic stops or faulty breathalyzer tests. An attorney will protect your rights, advocate on your behalf, and work towards the best possible outcome.