While many people use the terms DWI and DUI interchangeably, the proper term in Missouri is DWI. There is no difference recognized between the two terms in the state. If you are guilty of operating a motor vehicle in Missouri while in a drugged or intoxicated condition, you are guilty of DWI. When you are drinking and driving, your driving abilities and reaction times are impaired. Your central nervous system and brain are impacted directly by alcohol consumption. The intensity of your impairment and the effects will depend on how much alcohol you have consumed. Different amounts of alcohol consumption affect various parts of the brain and central nervous system.
In Kansas City, both driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated is considered as DWI. A Kansas City DWI charge results when an adult driver has a BAC of .08 or higher when operating a motor vehicle on the road. If a driver is younger than 21, which is the legal age to drink, he or she can face DWI with a BAC as low as .020. DWI comes with strict penalties. If convicted of DWI in Missouri, you can spend time in jail, face fines, have your driver license suspended or revoked, be required to go to driving school and substance abuse courses, and be required to complete specified hours or days of community service.
What Questions Should I Ask a Kansas City DWI Attorney?
When you are looking for an attorney to handle your Kansas City DWI case, you need to ask some questions before
retaining a lawyer. There are several things that you need to know before retaining legal representation.
- How long have you been in practice?
- Do you specialize in handling Kansas City DWI cases?
- What is your success record for representing DWI clients?
- Has this attorney had any complaints filed against him or her?
- How much does this attorney charge for representing me in court for my DWI charges?
All these questions are important to ask when hiring a Kansas City DWI attorney to represent you. After all, you want a lawyer who will fight for you and aggressively defend you against the charges. A single DWI conviction can affect you the rest of your life. It can keep you from getting jobs, increase your auto insurance premiums, affect you on a social level, so you need to make sure you have dependable and aggressive legal representation when facing Kansas City DWI charges. Understand that the penalties are severe. Your lawyer can help you avoid the maximum punishment and help you get your life back on track after facing charges.
What is the Specifics of Missouri DWI Laws?
Just like other states, Missouri has precise DWI laws that are designed to punish those who are driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The DWI laws in the state involve BAC levels and different criminal penalties, such as revocation or suspension of driving privileges, as well as implied consent for drug and alcohol testing, and various criminal and administrative penalties. Here are a few of the details about DWI charges in the state:
What are the Missouri BAC Limits?
If your BAC is .08% or higher, then additional proof or evidence is required to convict you of a DWI charge. Missouri has what is called a per se BAC limit law regarding DWIs. If your BAC is .15% or higher, you can face enhanced penalties including jail time, community service, fines, and the loss of driving privileges. Because of the zero tolerance law in Missouri, if you are younger than the legal drinking age and you have a BAC of .02% or higher, you can face serious consequences and DWI charges as well.
What are the DWI Criminal Penalties in Kansas City?
Criminal penalties are dependent upon your BAC level and how many prior convictions you have. Your first offense is considered to be a Class B misdemeanor. If your BAC ranges from .15 to .20%, you must serve at least 48 hours in jail. If your BAC is higher than .2%, you will serve five days. The maximum jail sentence one can receive for being convicted of a Class B misdemeanor is six months. Fines up to $500 can also be enforced.
If you have multiple convictions that involve driving and alcohol, you will face longer jail sentences. If you have a prior conviction, you will have to spend at least ten days in jail. If you have two or more previous convictions, you will have to spend a minimum of 30 days in jail. You might be eligible for early release if you meet the community service requirements. If you have three prior convictions, you will spend a minimum of 60 days in jail. Those with four or more prior convictions will spend at least two years in jail.
When your case is sent to a circuit court with a DWI court available, or where any court-ordered alcohol treatment is available, anyone charged with DWI because of a BAC is .15% or higher must complete an alcohol treatment program to get a suspended sentence. Any vehicle-related convictions will result in points being allocated to your driving record. Points can cause your license to be revoked or suspended.
What Administrative Penalties Could I Face For Kansas City DWI?
The driving privileges of anyone convicted of DWI are automatically suspended or revoked by the State of Missouri. A first time DWI offense results in a 90-day suspension of your driving privileges. You might be able to request an immediately restricted driving privilege where you can drive during those 90 days as long as you have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. You must blow into this device like a breathalyzer before the car starts. It prevents drunk driving. You might be able to receive limited driving privileges after 30 days being served with a suspended license. Not all drivers are eligible for this because some drivers who have been convicted of a motor vehicle-related felony, such as driving under the influence of drugs or leaving the scene of a car accident, you will be ineligible for limited driving privileges.
Consult With an Experienced Kansas City DWI Attorney
If you have been charged with DWI in Kansas City, consult with an experienced DWI attorney at Hollingshead and Dudley Trial Lawyers. Call our office at 816-224-9500 to schedule a free consultation.