DWI Law in Missouri
Upon issuance of a DWI or DUI ticket in Missouri, and upon Law Enforcement notification of your pending Suspension, You have 15 days to take action. If you fail to APPEAL your suspension, then your license will be suspended for a minimum of 90 days. If you refuse to take the breathalyzer, then your license could, and likely will, be suspended for one year.
The presumed level of intoxication of your BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) in the State of Missouri, is .08%. But if you are under the age of 21, then that amount drops to 0.02%.If you refuse to take the Breathalyzer (not to be confused with the portable breath test given at the scene), then your license will likely be suspended for one year. Depending on the County of arrest and the number of prior DWIs will help determine whether you should or should not "Consent" or grant the State or Municipality the opportunity to take your breath sample. If you refuse, the State or Municipality has the right to request a Search Warrant of your blood if probably cause exists.
Blood alcohol concentration is based upon a variety of factors, including your alcohol intake rate, the percentage of alcohol in each drink, your weight, age, sex and rate of elimination from your body. It is important to remember that the unlawfulness, or presumption of intoxication, is when your BAC is above 0.08% WHILE DRIVING, not when taking the breathalyzer test at the police station approximately an hour after your arrest. Your BAC could have been under 0.08% when you were stopped, but then risen to a level above 0.08% between the time of the stop and 45 minutes to an hour later, following the stop, the field sobriety tests, the transport time to the station, the completion of the Alcohol Influence Report (questioning done at the station), the 15 minute mandatory observation period, and then finally the breathalyzer.
When to contact an attorney:
IMMEDIATELY upon law enforcement contact! You may not have much luck getting ahold of a lawyer at 3:00 a.m. but it's worth a shot. You have a right to an attorney at ANY time, not just when the officer arrests you after the Field Sobriety Tests. The Field Sobriety Test results may be in your favor, but more than likely the law enforcement officer has already formed an opinion about your sobriety and will be using the FST results to bolster the case against you in Court. So contact an attorney upon initial contact with law enforcement.
RANGE OF PUNISHMENT:
First Offense DWI:
The maximum sentence on a first offense dwi (Class B Misdemeanor) is a 6 month jail sentence and/or a $500 fine. The typical First Offense DWI results include a 2 year Suspended Imposition of Sentence and perhaps a fine on the underlying PC (probable cause) ticket. The benefit is that no points are assessed against your driving privileges for driving while intoxicated. The con is that you will be on probation for a period of 2 years and likely be required to report to a probation officer and avoid any further criminal trouble in a 2 year period. Other likely outcomes include community service and completion of a SATOP program.