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Appealing a drunk driving conviction

Missouri follows certain federal laws when it comes to regulating alcohol consumption, and some state residents who are convicted of underage drinking and driving or being above the legal limit for blood alcohol content while operating a vehicle may face serious penalties. Some people have grounds for an appeal, which gives one the chance to have a sentence or conviction overturned.

If a mistake occurred in a DWI case, a higher court could review it for legal errors. A defendant who has been convicted and appeals is called an appellant, and an appellant must make their intent to appeal known soon after a conviction. However, an appeal hearing may not take place until months after an application for an appeal is filed.

A case might be retried or dismissed when a substantial legal mistake influenced a jury. New evidence is not considered during an appeal, but things previously admitted into evidence can be evaluated again. The court reporter's transcripts are also part of the record that a court reviews during an appeal.

In addition to the record, an appellate court also considers briefs filed by the prosecution and defense. An appellant's brief explains the legal mistake that occurred while the other side's brief explains why the original court decision should remain unchanged. The appellant usually writes another brief in response to the opposition's brief, and the court sometimes hears oral arguments.

Drunk driving convictions can lead to fines, jail time and a suspended license, but there are many possible arguments a defense attorney might use when their client faces DWI charges. For example, an attorney could question the reliability of any breath or field sobriety tests. Another defense might involve procedural errors committed by the authorities during the investigation and arrest.

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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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