Driving privileges and DUI charges in Missouri

People who live in and around St. Louis have often heard about the serious penalties that can accompany a conviction for a drunk driving offense or a charge of driving under the influence of drugs. Mothers Against Drunk Driving even notes that people who are arrested for a third DWI offense can face a felony conviction which only increases the potential severity of the consequences.

Understanding a drunk driving stop

When a driver is questioned by an officer for suspicion of drunk driving, one thing that may be requested is the participation in a breath test. Drivers are legally allowed to refuse these tests but doing so has its own set of consequences in the form of a one-year driver's license revocation according to the Missouri Department of Revenue website.

If a driver is cited for drunk driving, there can be both criminal and administrative laws that govern the situation. The criminal charges may be dismissed but some administrative penalties can still apply, highlighting the complexity of these situations for drivers.

How long are driving privileges suspended if convicted?

Even people who are arrested for a first-ever offense of driving while intoxicated can lose the right to drive a vehicle for some period of time. The length of a suspension will vary based upon the number or existence of any previous convictions. The state's Department of Revenue website outlines the suspension or loss of privileges as follows:

  • For a first DWI conviction, a driver can have a license suspended for a period of 90 days.
  • A commercially licensed driver can be cited for a DWI with a BAC of 0.04 percent or greater and will be barred from driving commercially with even one conviction.
  • For a second DWI conviction, a driver can have a license suspended for a period of one year. This is regardless of when the prior conviction occurred.
  • For a second DWI conviction within five years, a driver will have a license denied for a period of five years.
  • For a third DWI conviction, a driver will have a license denied for a period of 10 years.

All drivers convicted of impaired driving offenses can have points added to their driving records. The number of points will vary. For example, a commercial driver convicted of a first offense will have two points added to a record.

What drivers should do

If arrested for drunk driving charges, it is important to contact an attorney immediately. Getting the right help is critical during this time.