The legal age for possession and consumption of beverages containing alcohol is 21 in the state of Missouri. Therefore, while consequences for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are very serious for an individual of any age, there are significant issues for those who are stopped and found in possession of alcohol while under the legal age. In a case where an individual under the age of 21 faces DWI charges or charges related to possession of alcohol, it is key to secure legal counsel who is abreast of all current legislation related to DWI charges. It is also important to find the appropriate legal counsel for the case and understand the importance of sharing all pertinent information with said legal counsel as soon as possible after the charges are filed.
Can An Individual Under 21 Have Their Driving Privileges Revoked?
Driving privileges can be suspended for individuals who are found to be consuming alcohol before they are of legal age. Typically, license privileges are revoked for 90 days for offenses related to alcohol, possession or use of drugs,
possession of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle, or the alteration of a driver’s license. Revocation for one year occurs when possession or use of drugs while driving is proven to occur.
Traffic convictions that correlate to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated lead to two points added to a Missouri driver record. Possessing liquor, being visibly intoxicated, and testing with an alcohol content above 0.20 percent all can lead to suspension or revocation of driving privileges.
Some people incorrectly believe that refusing the test on-scene during a traffic stop can minimize chances of Kansas City DWI charges or losing a license for high Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). This is far from true. There are consequences for refusing a test during a traffic stop.
What If An Individual Refuses the Alcohol/Drug Test?
The state of Missouri has an implied consent law. This means that signing the license for the state that provides driving privileges also consents to a breathalyzer test during a traffic stop, provided it is administered by a law enforcement officer. For those who refuse to take this test, driving privileges and the related license will be revoked for one year.
The initial refusal notice is provided at the time of the arrest, typically by the arresting officer. In the case this does not occur, a notice is administered by the Department of Revenue through the mail. The officer who arrests an individual typically collects the corresponding driver’s license and may or may not issue a 15-day permit. The individual facing Kansas City DWI charges may be able to file a petition to have the license revocation reviewed. In that case, a stay order may be issued, and the individual may be permitted to continue driving until a determination is made by the court.
Understanding the Applicable BAC for Individuals Under 21
The state of Missouri’s laws related to BAC for individuals under 21 is clear: any trace of alcohol in the bloodstream of an individual not legally permitted to have alcohol can lead to a DUI charge in Kansas City. Loss of driving privileges can occur if an individual who is underage even attempts to purchase alcoholic beverages. Meanwhile, driving privileges can be revoked for purchasing or possessing alcohol in the state of Missouri – even if the individual is not driving or is not near a running vehicle. These privileges can be revoked as punishment for these offenses, the presence of a vehicle notwithstanding.
What Are Some Methods to Reduce Sentencing?
The first viable method to reduce sentencing is attempting a plea bargain. This usually involves negotiation with the prosecution regarding the case. When the BAC is very close to the legal limit and/or the case does not involve an accident, the individual facing charges may be able to plead the case down to a reduced charge of reckless driving. However, this charge can be considered a prior DWI conviction if the individual is charged with DWI again in the near future.
Another method of reducing sentence is to submit a motion to suppress evidence. In Kansas City DWI cases, it is common to attempt to prove the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to conduct the initial traffic stop or inconsistencies related to the Fourth Amendment occurred during evidence gathering. In these situations, the case may be dismissed if these issues can be proven in relation to the DWI charges.
How is a Missouri License Reinstated Once a Suspension is Lifted?
Individuals who have driving privileges suspended or revoked need to submit paperwork and pay a fee to have a driver’s license reinstated. A form of ID may be required during this process, and the individual may also be required to prove financial responsibility and even completed a Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program prior to license reinstatement.
Most of the issues, evidence procedures, and necessary filing related to Kansas City DWI charges are not common knowledge for the average citizen. This is why finding legal counsel and making contact as soon as possible after a traffic stop that leads to DWI charges is vital. An attorney ensures the narrow window from the traffic stop and corresponding charges to the court date for appearance is handled appropriately, with all necessary motions are submitted in a timely manner. Also, the individual facing charges has appropriate counsel on attempting to make a plea bargain, handling issues related to licensing revocation or making a motion for case dismissal when necessary.
Consult with a Kansas City Attorney to Discuss Your DWI Charges
If you have already experienced a traffic stop that resulted in Kansas City DWI charges, the time is now to get in touch with Hollingshead & Dudley. Procuring appropriate legal counsel can make a vast difference in the timeline of your case. Avoid prolonged exposure to the court system and awaiting sentencing by choosing an attorney in a timely manner.
Contact us today to arrange a consultation with an experienced DWI attorney by calling 816-895-7070 today.