When a Missouri resident is charged with driving while intoxicated, they could potentially face a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge. The severity of the charge they receive depends on a number of factors, including whether or not they have previous charges, their blood alcohol levels and if anyone suffered an injury in the alleged incident.
A person may be charged with a misdemeanor if the crime is considered to be serious but not serious enough to be a felony. While a person may potentially be sentenced to jail if they are convicted, the sentence is usually served in a local county jail. A felony is considered to be a very serious crime and may include murder, rape, arson or kidnapping, among others. In general, those who are convicted of a felony may be sentenced to more than one year in prison. The justice system is incredibly flexible when it comes to what crimes are considered to be misdemeanors and what crimes are considered to be felonies; prosecutors can request sentences that they believe match the severity of the particular crime.
When it comes to DWI, most individuals are charged with a misdemeanor unless there are other elements involved. For example, a person may be charged with felony DWI if the intoxicated driver causes bodily harm to another person, if they are driving on a suspended licence or if they have a certain number of prior convictions.
If a person is facing their third drunk driving conviction, it is possible that they may be facing a felony. A criminal law attorney may utilize a strong DWI defense by analyzing the evidence to determine if there are any inconsistencies with the police testimony, if the officer violated the accused person’s rights when they were taken into custody or if the evidence does not match the testimony. If this occurs, the case against the accused person may be dismissed.