A judge hearing a driving while intoxicated (DWI) case has to apply Missouri state law during the sentencing process. When someone pleads guilty or gets convicted, there are state guidelines that determine what penalties they’ll face.
Certain aggravating factors, including having a child passenger or multiple prior offenses, can increase the penalties a judge hands down in a Missouri DWI case. Judges often sentence people to a combination of penalties. There may be jail time or probation involved, as well as fines. License suspension is also a standard consequence for a Missouri DWI conviction.
The maximum suspension increases with each offense
First-time DWI offenders generally receive the most lenient sentences. Those with multiple prior offenses will face harsher penalties. That is true for the license suspension as well as the possible jail time or probation that a judge sets.
For someone accused of a first DWI in Missouri, a license suspension of up to 90 days is likely. However, they could potentially qualify for restricted driving privileges. They may need to install an ignition interlock device if they hope to entirely bypass the suspension period. Otherwise, they can serve 30 days of the suspension and then regain the right to drive for certain reasons. Driving related to employment, schooling and court-ordered appointments will be all someone can do until after the 60 days of restricted driving privileges pass.
Someone convicted of a second DWI will have their license revoked for one year. If the second offense is within five years of the first conviction, they may not be able to regain their license for five years. Third offenses can lead to up to ten years of license denial. Given the increasing penalties imposed with each subsequent charge, many people find it worthwhile to defend against even a first DWI. Many people, very understandably, don’t want to risk enhanced penalties if they ever get arrested again in the future.
The threat of losing one’s driver’s license is more than just an inconvenience. It can affect someone’s social life and possibly even their career. Responding appropriately to pending DWI charges can help people to minimize the risk that they’ll be subject to significant consequences – including licensing penalties – as a result of being arrested for allegedly impaired driving.