Driving while intoxicated anywhere in Missouri can lead to an arrest. The consequences of a conviction are serious, too. Not only do you face potential jail or prison time -- depending on the circumstances of the DWI -- and significant fines and fees, you also face the wrath of society. Thanks in large part to the work of organizations like Mothers Against Drinking and Driving (MADD), society does not look kindly on persons convicted of DWI, no matter who you are.
DWI isn't a crime committed by one specific demographic; people of all walks of life commit it -- from CEOs to teachers to students to fathers to unemployed persons. So, even after you paid your debt to society by fulfilling the terms and conditions of your sentencing, you face punishment imposed by society, known as collateral consequences.
Collateral consequences can include things like, losing a job or inability to obtain a good job, losing a professional license, losing security clearance, losing child custody, inability to secure loans, inability to find good housing. In some cases, if you are convicted of a felony DWI, then you can also lose constitutional rights, like your right to vote and your right to own and use a firearm.
As you can see, a DWI charge can have a significant impact on your life. It is very important to fight the charge. You should never plead guilty at your arraignment. There are some situations, however, that a plea deal where you have to plead guilty may make sense in your unique situation. Generally speaking, however, you want to fight the charge. The latter is your best means to dismissal of charges before trial or an acquittal at trial.
Higher Level Legal is the kind of Law Firm committed to what's right for you and your situation. He doesn't let the first plea deal offer sway his mind so that he can move on to the next client. He will review your case and advise you of your best options -- that way you can make an informed decision about your own future.
DWI Offenses in Missouri
In Missouri, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is:
- 0.08% for most persons;
- 0.04% for commercial drivers; and
- 0.02% for minors.
When you drive on a public highway, you consent to a chemical test, but you can still refuse upon request. If you refuse, however, you could face a longer driver's license suspension period, and the officer will likely request a warrant to obtain a blood or urine sample anyway. The offenses you could face in Missouri for allegedly violating DWI laws include:
- First-Offense DWI
- Second-Offense DWI
- Third or Subsequent Offense DWI
- Minor DWI
- Commercial Driver DWI.
If your BAC is 0.15% or higher or if you were driving at an excessive speed, then the DWI charge can be enhanced to an “aggravated DWI,” which means harsher sentencing upon conviction.
If you are a first-time DWI offender in Missouri, you will also have the opportunity to have the offense expunged. Expungement means no one will ever know you were convicted of a DWI. But there are guidelines and rules to follow. Your attorney will discuss it with you if applicable.
Missouri DWI Defenses and Defense Strategies
Sometimes the beginning of your defense begins with the administrative process associated with your DWI arrest. When arrested for a DWI, you are given a temporary license and then have an option for an administrative review -- upon request. This review is your means to fight the suspension of your driver's license. If you hire an attorney to represent you, the attorney can use this as his introduction to your case, as a means to get a good idea of what evidence the State has, and to lock in the testimony of the police officers.
Apart from the administrative review for your driver's license, there are other defenses and defense strategies that your attorney may employ.
- The breath test was wrong (e.g., poor maintenance or calibration of the instrument or some kind of health condition) or was administered improperly.
- The blood test was wrong (e.g., the integrity of the blood sample was questioned due to improper handling) or an issue arose during the chain of custody of the blood sample.
- The field sobriety tests were administered improperly.
- The police did not have reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle.
- The police did not have probable cause to arrest you.
- The police unlawfully obtained or administered a search warrant.
- The police otherwise unlawfully searched your person or property.
- The police failed to read you the Miranda warning.
When any of the above are present, then your attorney will likely file a motion to suppress the evidence or negotiate with the prosecutor for a reduced charge or for dismissal of the charges when the evidence is insufficient due to its suppression.
Smart, Strategic DWI Attorney in Cass County
If you have been charged with a DWI in Raymore or anywhere else throughout Cass County, it is important to retain an attorney who will provide an honest assessment of your case. You should choose your attorney carefully to make sure your chances for a positive outcome are improved.
The Higher Level Legal, DWI Law Firm located conveniently in Raymore, will review your case carefully. We will also listen to your wants and expectations and then provide you with your best options. Contact his office today to schedule your free initial consultation. Then, come prepared with questions and with an intention to get your case resolved.