With many holidays right around the corner, Missouri law enforcement will be particularly vigilant of unsafe driving behavior. One St. Louis man experienced this firsthand over Thanksgiving weekend when the cops arrested him on suspicion of DWI and having a firearm in his possession after a previous felony conviction.
Not all DWI charges are equal, though. The possible penalties on the table ultimately come down to a variety of factors, including which type of DWI a person end up with. The type of DWI offender someone is will affect what type of defense has the best potential to work.
Prior DWI offender
A prior offender is someone who has one other DWI crime on his or her record. The state will consider the current charge, in this case, to be a Class A misdemeanor. First offenders only have to contend with a Class B misdemeanor charge, which has lesser penalties associated with it. However, a Class A misdemeanor brings about fines up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.
Persistent DWI offender
A persistent offender is someone who has at least two other DWI convictions on his or her record. For a third DWI in Missouri, the person has to contend with Class D felony charges. At this point, a convicted party will face up to four years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.
Aggravated DWI offender
Someone with three other DWI convictions will become an aggravated DWI offender. The person can face up to seven years in DOC. The bare minimum the person will need to spend in prison is 60 days. The person cannot get out of a prison sentence by performing community service at this time.
Chronic DWI offender
Some people in the state have over five DWI convictions, and they are chronic offenders. In this case, the minimum punishment automatically becomes two years in DOC. The offender cannot get parole until the two-year mark.