If you’ve been charged and convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in the past, you may be under the false impression that your third conviction would carry similar penalties as your first two, but that’s not the case. A third-offense DWI conviction is classified as a Class E felony, meaning that prison time is a real possibility.
However, just because you were arrested for the third time doesn’t mean you will be automatically convicted. Each DWI arrest must stand independently, which is why you want to hire a diligent criminal defense lawyer to fight your charges. In Jefferson City, Kirsch & Kirsch, Attorneys at Law represent individuals who have been arrested for a third, fourth, or fifth DWI. Contact us today for diligent representation.
Third DWI Conviction Penalties
In Missouri, a third DWI conviction is classified as a Class E felony. The following penalties apply:
- Up to four years in state prison. You must serve at least 30 days in jail or 60 days of community service.
- Probation is a common alternative to jail or prison. It can also be used to supplement a jail or prison sentence.
- Up to $10,000 in fines.
- Driver’s license suspension from one to ten years.
- Installation of an ignition interlock device at the owner’s expense.
- Alcohol monitoring.
- Mandatory participation in a drug or alcohol treatment program.
- Becoming a convicted felon may inhibit your right to own a gun or vote.
The consequences of losing your third DWI case in a criminal court are severe. A private defense attorney can give you the best chance of having your charges reduced or dismissed.
How A DWI Attorney Can Help You
The judges who preside over multiple DWI cases in and around Jefferson City are known for issuing harsh sentences for these types of cases. That does not mean that you can’t beat your charges, and your past cases have no bearing on your guilt or innocence in your current trial.
A private defense lawyer has the knowledge, experience, and resources to explore possible defense strategies. Here are some of the ways an attorney can help you:
- Review all documentation generated about your case: the police report, probable cause affidavit, accident report (if one exists), etc.
- Subpoena and depose all witnesses who may have a bearing on the case, such as the arresting officer, wheel witnesses, other drivers in an accident, etc.
- Review all video evidence as part of the discovery process, including the performance of voluntary roadside exercises.
- Review the maintenance records and certifications for the breathalyzer and its operation
- Subpoena and depose the arresting officer and other witnesses to the alleged crime
- Examine all discovery evidence, including video of your driving pattern and performance on voluntary roadside exercises
- Negotiate with the prosecuting attorney for a lesser plea
- When faulty probable cause or procedure is detected, file motions to suppress, which could lead to a reduction in charges or an acquittal
Defenses for Beating a Third DWI Conviction
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for challenging a DWI arrest. Your attorney will have to review the evidence and determine the best approach for your case. Here are some factors that the criminal defense attorneys at Kirsch & Kirsch examine when determining a defense strategy.
The police must be able to justify their reason for stopping you. In many instances, the officer makes an arrest and then tries to justify the stop after, but that isn’t legal. Our attorneys will determine whether the stop was justified or not. If it wasn’t, we would file a motion to suppress.
Lack of a Wheel Witness
If you’ve been involved in an accident, the police must have a witness that can say they saw you behind the wheel when it occurred. If not, the prosecutorial case may unravel.
Improper Roadside Exercises
Before asking you to participate in voluntary roadside exercises, the police must ask you if you are physically fit to perform them. In addition, they must conduct the exercises on a clear, flat, well-lit surface and demonstrate each before asking you to perform them. They will usually record the tests, so we can ensure they follow these protocols. If not, we will file a motion to suppress that evidence.
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Testing
Upon arrest, the officer should remind you of Missouri’s implied consent law, which states that you have implicitly agreed to provide a breath or urine sample upon request. If the officer fails to remind you of this warning or advises you that you are required to provide a breath sample, it could be grounds to suppress the test results. Additionally, all breath test devices must be maintained and calibrated. The prosecution must be able to demonstrate this to the court.
FAQs About Missouri Third-Offense DWI
The following are some of the most commonly asked questions by multiple DWI defendants and answers provided by our top-tier criminal defense attorneys.
When does a third-offense DWI become a felony In MO?
If you have three DWI arrests within ten years and the first two led to convictions, your third DWI offense will be charged as a felony.
Do out-of-state DUI/DWI convictions count?
Missouri has reciprocity agreements with most other states. That means your DUI or DWI convictions in other states would count as prior offenses in Missouri.
Can I go to prison for a third-offense DWI conviction?
Prison is a possibility with felony convictions. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to hire a DUI attorney. If they are unable to beat your charges in court, they can negotiate with the prosecutor for reduced sentencing. You may be able to avoid jail or prison altogether.
Experienced Multiple DWI Attorneys in Jefferson City, MO
Do not allow your future to reside in the hands of an inexperienced public defender. The defense attorneys at Kirsch and Kirsch have an unparalleled track record regarding multiple DWI convictions. Call today to discuss your case with a professional attorney.