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St. Louis DWI Attorneys

Stopped For Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Missouri?

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Missouri DWI Driving While Intoxicated Attorney Fee Prices:

For most people receiving a DWI can be a stressful, embarrassing and complicated event in life.  You should never face a DWI without an experienced Missouri traffic lawyer at your side through every step of the process. Our Missouri traffic lawyers can help you navigate through the complexities of a DWI with compassion, professional advice, and affordable fees.

 

Our DWI Attorney's fees start at the low price of ONLY $550, and ask about our flexible payment plans!

 

What Can Happen If I Don't Hire An Attorney and I am Convicted of DWI in Missouri?

If you DON'T hire an Attorney and you are CONVICTED of DWI in Missouri the consequences are serious and you face the following potential repercussions alone: (** DWI Issues Are Different for CDL holders and Minors subject to Abuse and Lose laws).

 

  1. Criminal Record Conviction: Convictions may be discovered by prospective schools, employers, military, or professional licensing boards:
    • 1st DWI: Can result in Class B Misdemeanor;
    • 2nd DWI: Can result in Class A Misdemeanor - Prior Offender;
    • 3rd DWI: Can result in Class D Felony - Persistent Offender;
    • 4th DWI: Can result in Class C Felony - Aggravated Offender.

     

  2. Jail Time: Even a 1st DWI conviction can result in jail time:
    • 1st DWI: Can result in up to 6 months jail time;
    • 2nd DWI: Can result in up to 1 year jail time (Prior Offender);
    • 3rd DWI: Can result in up to 4 years jail time (Persistent Offender).

     

  3. Driver License Suspension: Whether you take the breath test or refuse it your driver license will be suspended or revoked if you do not file a timely Appeal:
    • If you refuse the breath test your license is revoked for 1 year unless you file a timely Appeal;
    • 1st DWI: If you fail the breath test your driver license will be suspended after 15 days for a period of 90 days (30 day suspension followed by 60 day restricted driver privilege), unless you file a timely Appeal;
    • 2nd DWI: If you fail the breath test your license will be revoked after 15 days for period of 1 year; If you receive 2 DWI convictions within 5 years your driver license can be revoked for 5 years;
    • Subsequent DWI: If you fail the breath test your license can be revoked after 15 days for a period of 10 years.

     

  4. Points on Your Driver License: A conviction results in points being placed on your driver license:
    • 1st DWI: A conviction results in 8 points added to your driver record;
    • 2nd DWI: A conviction results in 12 points added to your driver record;
    • Subsequent DWI: A conviction results in 12 points added to your driver record.

     

  5. High Court Fines: A conviction leaves you open to pay high Court fines, prior or persistent offenders can be charged with increased fines:
    • 1st DWI: Conviction can result in up to $500 fine;
    • 2nd DWI: Conviction can result in up to $1,000 fine;
    • 3rd DWI: Conviction can result in up to $5,000 fine.

     

  6. Increased Insurance Premiums: A DWI conviction on your driver license record will most definitely result in a drastically increased insurance premium for several years to come.

 

Every DWI In Missouri Has 2 Distinct Parts:

  • Administrative Driver License Case: Involves your driver license privilege through the DOR (Dept of Revenue). Regardless of whether you took the breath test and failed, or refused it, your license will be suspended or revoked 15 days after you receive a DWI if you do not timely Appeal. Breath tests must be appealed within 15 days after you receive your DWI. If you refuse the breath test your driver license will be revoked for 1 year unless you file a timely Appeal, also known as a Petition for Review. Refusal cases must be appealed within 30 days of receiving your DWI. If you miss the deadline for filing your Appeal you lose the right to Appeal.

     

  • Criminal Case: Involves criminal charges brought against you through the Court. The Court proceedings vary depending on the jurisdiction (location) of the issuing Court and whether or not you are represented by an Attorney. If you are represented by an Attorney and your case results in Plea Bargain then the Attorney will make most appearances on your behalf, and you will likely only be required to appear in Court to accept your Plea after the details are largely agreed to by the Prosecuting Attorney in advance. If you do not hire an Attorney you will be required to attend all Court appearances and Courts cannot give you legal advice about how to represent yourself.

 

What to do, and not do, when you are pulled over for DWI in Missouri and you HAVE been drinking:

The Right To Remain Silent: You should be polite and have your driver's license and proof of insurance ready for the police officer.  You should ask for the reason you are being stopped.  If the officer begins to ask questions about drinking alcohol, the smell of alcohol, etc you have the right not to answer questions and you should use that right.  Any type of admission about drinking alcohol will increase the likelihood that you will end up arrested for DWI and will end up written down as evidence against you in the police report.  You should respectfully explain that you are going to use your right to not answer questions and ask the officer to write your traffic ticket so that you can leave.

 

Field Sobriety Testing: If the officer requests that you perform field sobriety tests you are not required to submit to those tests.  Any evidence of clues from these tests will be used as evidence against you in a DWI criminal case.  You should respectfully decline to perform any type of eye testing where you are asked to look at or follow an object (gaze nystagmus tests).  You should respectfully decline to perform any type of walking, one leg standing, turning testing (one leg standing and walk and turn testing).  You should respectfully decline to perform any type of counting, alphabet etc testing.

 

Portable Breath Tests / Official Breath Tests:  There are two main types of breath tests administered to measure blood alcohol content: 1) hand held portable breath test; 2) official breath test subject to Missouri implied consent law. The hand held portable breath test is a device the officer may keep in his patrol car and can be administered during the actual traffic stop. You are not required under Missouri's implied consent law to submit to the hand held portable breath test so you should not submit to this type of hand held portable breath test as it can be used as probable cause to arrest you for DWI. The official blood alcohol content breath test machine is kept at the police station and it is the official test that is subject to Missouri's implied consent law.

 

To Blow Or Not To Blow: Under Missouri's implied consent law you will face losing your license if you do not cooperate with the official breath test at the police station, but that does not always necessarily mean that you "should" cooperate.  Unfortunately there is no black or white easy answer to the question "should I blow?" The answer depends on each person's specific facts and circumstances such as whether this is a first DWI arrest, whether there has been an injury, etc. You have the right to consult an attorney. If you are faced with this difficult decision you should ask to call an attorney and get professional consultation from an experienced traffic attorney.

 

What Happens If You Get Arrested:  If you refuse to answer questions and refuse to perform sobriety tests you still may be arrested, however it will be harder for the police/Prosecutor to make a criminal case against you. If you are arrested you should continue to refrain from answering questions but still be cooperative and polite.  The officer will book you, complete a lot of paperwork, and eventually instruct you on how to post bond and let you use the phone. When you are released you may be given paperwork that tells you when to return to court, and you should be given paperwork that explains when your license suspension/revocation goes into effect.

 

Time Is Of The Essence:  In Missouri It is very important that you contact an experienced traffic attorney quickly after any DWI arrest. When you fail the breath test your license will be suspended/revoked 15 days after your arrest date, any appeal must be timely filed withing 15 days or that right is permanently lost. When you refuse the breath test your license is revoked 15 days after your arrest date, and any appeal must be timely filed or that right is permanently lost. An experienced traffic law attorney may be able to help you avoid suffering a driver license suspension/revocation but you need to act quickly to file an appeal and protect your rights.

 

What is an SIS on my DWI Case:

In Missouri traffic law an SIS is a "Suspended Imposition of Sentence" where you are placed on probation. In an SIS you waive your right to a trial and Plead Guilty in Court to some offense (DWI) but the Conviction is not entered onto your criminal record. Instead the Plea is placed in your file for the term of your probation. If you successfully complete all of the terms of your probation then you will not ever receive a conviction and the criminal case is closed. If you violate the terms of your probation you will face a probation revocation hearing. As a result of the probation revocation hearing the Judge may decide to revoke your probation, enter the previous Plea of Guilty into the record, and sentence you, as your right to a trial will have been previously waived as a part of the SIS.

 

What is SATOP and How Much Does It Cost:

In Missouri traffic law SATOP is Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program. In MO if your driver license has been suspended or revoked by DOR (Dept of Revenue) due to an alcohol related offense you must complete SATOP in order to reinstate your license. SATOP consists of 2 parts. There is an evaluation and interview session during which a counselor will determine what type of class you will be assigned to. Then you will be assigned to attend a treatment class or a series of classes. The fees for the two parts are usually over $375.

 

How Do I Reinstate My Driver License After a DWI Suspension or Revocation:

In Missouri in order to reinstate your Missouri driver license after a traffic law DWI suspension you must: 1) complete SATOP and submit proof of completion to DOR (Dept of Revenue); 2) pay a reinstatement fee of $45; 3) obtain SR-22 insurance and maintain proof for two years from the date of suspension/revocation (if you are over 21 years old). If you are convicted of a 2nd DWI it is now mandatory for the court to order an ignition interlock device on any vehicle you drive for a period of 6 months after your suspension. If your license was revoked for 1 year or more you must additionally take and pass the driver's test again.

 

What is SR-22 Insurance and Where Do I Buy It:

In Missouri SR-22 Insurance is a form from an insurance company that proves that you motor vehicle has liability insurance. This form is filed with DOR (Dept of Revenue). You obtain SR-22 from most normal insurance agents. There will be an increased or extra insurance premium charged to you by your insurance company for the SR-22 insurance. You are not required to purchase the SR-22 insurance from the same insurance company that provides your regular insurance.

 

CDL Holders & DWI:

Drivers holding a CDL (commercial driver license) in Missouri are subject to a lower blood alcohol content for a DWI, it is lowered to .04. A CDL holder is subject to the lower threshold even while driving a normal car as opposed to a commercial vehicle. Without hiring a Missouri traffic attorney, a CDL holder that receives a 1st DWI conviction faces losing their CDL for at least 1 year. Without hiring a Missouri traffic attorney, a CDL holder that receives a 2nd DWI conviction may lose their CDL for life. Missouri traffic law does not allow SIS for a CDL holder that is charged with DWI.

 

Minors and Abuse & Lose Laws:

In Missouri "Abuse & Lose" is a special set of laws that applies to minors. It is important to hire a Missouri traffic attorney If you are under 21 years of age because a court can order suspension of driving license privileges for 90 days for a 1st offense and 1 year for a 2nd offense of the following types of offenses; Any alcohol related traffic offense, any offense involving the possession or use of drugs, any offense involving the alteration, modification or misrepresentation of a driver license, or a second offense involving the possession or use of alcohol by someone under 18 years of age.

 

What is Ignition Interlock:

Missouri passed a new Crime Bill in 2009 which made a new "Ignition Interlock" law effective August 2009.  Under this new law any person found guilty or who pleads guilty to a second intoxication related traffic offense shall not operate a motor vehicle unless that vehicle is equipped with a certified ignition interlock device for 6 months from the date of reinstatement of the person's driver license. The statute is RSMo 577.600.