Driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses are among the most common criminal charges levied in Missouri. Police officers often arrest individuals based on their driving during targeted traffic stops and after collisions because of the results of their chemical tests.
For most adults, an arrest is possible if they display obvious impairment in their driving ability while on the road or if they are over the legal limit for their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Officers will often ask to perform breath tests and then arrest anyone who is over the legal limit. In Missouri, the standard limit for someone’s BAC is 0.08%. However, there are two groups who are subject to a stricter limit than that.
Drivers operating commercial vehicles
Someone driving a bus or a semi-truck needs to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to perform their job. That license requires extra training and also imposes higher standards on the motorist. If police officers perform a chemical breath test on someone in control of a commercial vehicle, a BAC of 0.04%, which is half the limit for the average driver, would be enough to trigger arrest and likely DWI charges. A guilty plea or conviction will leave someone ineligible for their CDL and force them out of their job. The BAC for those with a CDL is the same as everyone else when they are in their own vehicle, but a DWI off the job can also cost them their CDL.
Having a BAC of 0.08% or even 0.04% is only legal if someone can lawfully consume alcohol. Those who are under the age of 21 can’t legally drink and are there for subject to a much stricter rule regarding their BAC during sobriety testing. Under Missouri rules, teenagers and 20-year-olds pulled over on suspicion of impairment could end up arrested with a BAC of 0.02%.
Those who understand the nuances of the rules related to driving in Missouri will be in a better position to make choices that don’t lead to their arrest and prosecution. Learning the legal limits for blood alcohol concentration can help someone avoid a DWI arrest or start planning a more effective defense strategy after getting arrested.