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Can you receive a DWI below the legal limit?

In 49 out of 50 states – with Utah being the exception – drivers caught with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or above will face DWI charges. Based on these laws, you may assume that you will be safe to drive after consuming several drinks. In most cases, this may be true. But certain groups of Missouri residents can face charges if their BAC is below 0.08%.

The limit for commercial operators

If your job requires you to have a commercial driver’s license, Missouri law holds you to stricter standards than other drivers. State statutes decree that any commercial operators will receive DWI charges if their BAC is 0.04% or above. This limit stays in place whether you are driving your work vehicle or your personal vehicle. As a penalty, you will receive two points on your driver’s license. Moreover, you will lose your commercial driving privileges for one year, which will likely affect your employment.

The limit for minors

Like all other states, Missouri observes zero tolerance laws for minors caught driving while impaired. If you are younger than 21, you will receive DWI charges if your BAC is 0.02% or above. Your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days following your offense. And if you are a student, your DWI charges could lead to academic penalties as well. Yet, so long as your BAC was below 0.08%, your license suspension will come off your record the sooner of two years after your offense or once you turn 21.

While most Missouri residents are subject to the state’s 0.08% BAC limit, commercial drivers and minors must understand the laws that apply to them. If you face DWI charges and belong to either of these groups, a criminal defense attorney can help you weigh your options for working through them.

 

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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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