What Happens When You Get Your First DWI in Missouri?
November 6, 2023
Even if you have no prior convictions, a DWI charge can be nerve-wracking. A first-offense DWI may be less serious, but that doesn’t mean that it should be taken lightly. So what happens when you get your first DWI in Missouri?
If you are accused of driving with an excessive blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and need help, reach out to an experienced DWI attorney. They understand Missouri DWI law and can help you get a first offense reduced or dismissed.
Understanding DWI Convictions
A first-time Missouri DWI charge may not seem as serious as others. However, even a first-time DWI offense can have aggravating factors that impact your case. If you’re facing any of the following offenses, reach out to our attorneys for criminal defense to help you fight your charge and avoid jail time and other criminal penalties for a first DWI. Below are some of the potential offenses and penalties you may face even if you do not have prior convictions:
- Class B misdemeanor: When you’re facing a first-time DWI charge, it would be classified as a class B misdemeanor. A conviction comes with a maximum jail sentence of up to six months and a maximum $500 fine.
- Class E felony: If someone was injured while you were driving under the influence, you may face a class E felony under Missouri DWI laws. This aggravating factor can lead to an increased imprisonment of up to four years.
- Class C felony: Like class E felonies, a class C felony refers to inflicting serious physical harm to another person while driving a motor vehicle under the influence. However, this refers specifically to hurting law enforcement officers or emergency personnel or causing the death of another person.
- Class B felony: Under Missouri law, if you caused the death of a law enforcement officer or emergency responder, someone not in the vehicle, or multiple people, you may face a class B felony. This is also the case if your blood alcohol content is 0.08% and you cause the death of another person.
Missouri DWI Laws and Record Retention
A DWI in Missouri can stay on your record for a long time. Even if it’s been years since any prior DWI convictions, the prosecutor and judge will take it into consideration during any subsequent charges.
If you are concerned about drunk driving laws impacting your case, an experienced attorney can help. With a DWI lawyer, you can seek out options for defense, including a suspended imposition or a reduced jail sentence. In some cases, a skilled attorney may even be able to help you get your case dismissed.
First-Time DWI FAQs
When you are facing penalties for driving under the influence, you may have a lot of questions. Those questions may involve field sobriety tests, penalties for a conviction, and more.
To get case-specific answers, you may need to contact an attorney. In the meantime, you can check out some of our most frequently asked questions below.
What is the penalty for the first DWI in Missouri?
While a first-time DWI may not seem serious, it can still leave you facing serious penalties. Remember that you may face a minimum sentence if convicted for a first DWI offense. Talk to your lawyer about your options to avoid the following penalties for a first-time DWI:
- Continuous remote alcohol monitoring
- Suspension of driver’s license
- Court-ordered treatment program
- Probation and probation fees
- Court fees
- Substance abuse traffic school
- Alcohol evaluation for treatment
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
Will I go to jail for my first DWI in Missouri?
While jail time may be one of the penalties you face for a DWI, this is not always the case. Even if you seemed to be intoxicated or failed a field sobriety test, there may still be hope for you to avoid a conviction for a first-time DWI offense. Talk to your lawyer about building a strong defense before your court date.
What to do after getting a DWI in Missouri?
When you’re facing an alcohol-related traffic offense, you have opportunities to fight back. For example, the arresting officer may have claimed that you seemed to be intoxicated, but you may have been under the legal limit according to a breath test. Your DWI attorney can determine the best defense for your case.
Seek Help from a Jefferson City DWI Attorney
Even first offenses for DWI can have significant penalties. DWI laws can also be difficult to understand if you are unfamiliar. That leaves your driving record and possible freedom at risk. Fortunately, our attorneys at Kirsch & Kirsch, LLC can help defend against these charges.
Even if you have failed a chemical test or had your blood alcohol content measured by the police, our team can help. A DWI attorney can provide guidance, from a first or second offense forward. If you need help dealing with your DWI case, reach out to legal counsel by calling or filling out our online contact form.