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Driving under the influence distinctions in Missouri

Most people do not intentionally set out to hurt others. However, when people choose to drive under the influence, they put others in danger, as well as themselves.

For this reason, law enforcement is diligent about charging offenders with a DWI. With the different kinds of charges for driving under the influence, it can be confusing. Here are the main terms you may hear and how they may apply in your situation.

Are personal BAC breath tests reliable?

St. Louis has thousands of restaurants, bars and public places where you can enjoy a cocktail and the company of your friends. As you likely know, though, few things ruin a fun night on the town faster than flashing lights in your rearview mirror. If your blood alcohol concentration is above the 0.08% legal limit, your evening may quickly turn into a legal nightmare. 

Driving drunk is a terrible idea for several different reasons. While taking a taxi or rideshare after consuming alcohol is often an effective way to stay out of trouble, you may prefer to drive. Investing in a personal breath test may help you gauge whether your BAC has climbed above 0.08%. Are these devices reliable, though? 

What not to say during a DWI traffic stop

After leaving a Cardinals game or dining out with friends, seeing those red and blue lights behind you could strike fear in your heart. You know you have been drinking, but have you hit 0.08%? Are you about to receive a driving while intoxicated charge?

Too many drivers in Missouri incriminate themselves by saying the wrong things to police officers during DWI traffic stops. Avoiding a DWI may be possible if you keep your cool and remember a few things not to say.

Understanding sobriety checkpoints

The summer months are a peak period for drinking and driving, according to law enforcement. High school and college students who are out of school, families who are on vacation and people who are celebrating holidays such as Independence Day and Labor Day often include alcohol in their festivities.

 

Common signs cops look for to determine if a driver is drunk

Missouri police officers are constantly on the lookout for anyone who gets behind the wheel while under the intoxication of any illicit substance. On April 20th of this year, Missouri police departments launched a "Drive high, Get a DUI" campaign to encourage people not to operate a vehicle after smoking marijuana. 

While marijuana has received a lot of attention lately, people in Missouri still need to remember not to drive a car after consuming any amount of alcohol. Cops are always on the lookout, especially at night. The following signs are all police officers need to pull you over and arrest you on suspicion of DUI. 

A passenger's open container may spell trouble for you

Summers in St. Louis offer the perfect opportunity to enjoy outside activities, barbeques and sporting events. If you enjoy drinking beers or cocktails, you also have hundreds of places to safely imbibe. Your vehicle is not one of them. 

Missouri has some of the most relaxed open container laws in the country. While drivers may not legally drink and drive, adult passengers may have an open container without violating the law. Nevertheless, allowing your friends and family members to imbibe in your vehicle may spell trouble for you. 

3 protections you lose by pleading guilty to a DWI

When facing a charge for a DWI in St. Louis, it is important to let reason and common sense prevail instead of fear and intimidation. A criminal charge is not the same as a conviction. Unless a guilty verdict is reached, you have rights and the presumption of innocence on your side as long as you do not plead guilty. Regardless of how much evidence you think there is against you, it is possible to overcome a DWI charge. One of the first things you can do to improve your situation is to protect your rights by not giving them up. 

It may seem like the fastest way to deal with a DWI charge and move on is to plead guilty or "no contest" to avoid trial. Though that is often the quickest route to resolution, it is not a decision you should make lightly, especially if you want to minimize the consequences and long-term impact of drunk driving or operating-while-under-the-influence charge. Below are a few of the rights and protections you lose by pleading guilty to a crime. 

3 things you do to improve a traffic stop outcome

You have probably seen those red and blue lights flashing in your rearview and felt your heart drop into your stomach. Getting stopped by the police is not a calming experience, or at least, typically.

You may feel doubly nervous if you have taken part in a post-Cardinals win celebration. You feel up to driving, but what will a police officer think? Before you get behind the wheel, take a look at these three tips.

2 reasons to get a DWI defense

Getting arrested for suspicion of drinking and driving in St. Louis is no laughing matter to share with your buddies, nor is it one you should ignore. The consequences are serious and have a lingering impact that many people tend to overlook. Instead of waiting until there is a preponderance of evidence to secure a conviction, it is best to get a strong DWI defense to help you get ahead of the charges. 

A DUI defense does not necessarily need to prove your complete innocence. It can help to shed enough doubt on the evidence and circumstances in your case that can result in fewer penalties and a better outcome without a DWI conviction on your record. Here are a couple of reasons why it is always a good idea to secure a solid DWI defense team. 

You probably already consented to a BAC test

As you know, drinking and driving do not mix. If officers believe you are driving under the influence of alcohol, they can turn your otherwise pleasant day into a legal nightmare. Even worse, if you injure someone in a car accident after you have been drinking, you may face significant liability. 

In Missouri, you may not operate a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol concentration is above 0.08%. The most effective way for an officer to discover your BAC is to request that you take a breath test. When you received your Missouri driver’s license, you provided implied consent for chemical testing to determine if your BAC is above the legal limit. 

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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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