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The state of Missouri has taken several steps through the years to strengthen its laws on drunk driving and driving while intoxicated, or DWI. In one law, the state implemented a measure setting up a DWI court.

DWI courts offer people with repeat DWI charges a multi-pronged approach to dealing with alcohol addiction. The program requires offenders to follow certain steps that aim to keep them and others safe on the roads. Understanding DWI courts is important if this is not the first time police arrest you for DWI, so you can determine whether to ask your criminal defense attorney if this is an option in your case.

What are Missouri DWI courts?

DWI courts in Missouri are special courts set up to help people with repeat DWI offenses. The DWI court program combines treatment for substance abuse, judicial supervision, drug and alcohol testing and monitoring, and compliance with a substance abuse traffic offender program. One advantage of the program is that you can gain limited driving privileges through the program, when the courts may have otherwise revoked your privileges.

You may also be eligible for a suspended imposition of sentence, or SIS, if you meet certain conditions. In this situation, the court suspends your sentence if you successfully complete two years of probation and a court-ordered treatment program or DWI court.

How does DWI court differ from regular sentencing?

DWI court is a treatment court, so it does not follow the typical path of a DWI trial. It seeks to give people with an alcohol or substance abuse problem the tools they need to recover from their addiction and not commit repeat DWI offenses. In a traditional case, repeat offenders must serve time in jail and then they receive five years of probation, but in DWI court, they do not have to do the up-front jail time because they are immediately put under monitoring.

DWI court may be an option in your case if you are a repeat DWI offender in Missouri. However, you must consult with your criminal defense attorney to understand the various options in your case and the best course of action in your particular circumstances.

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