Missouri DUI Basics
Drunk driving charges in Missouri are broken into the categories of
driving while intoxicated and driving under the influence. Each offense
has different consequences and varies depending the circumstances of
the incident. Missouri law prosecutes drunk driving offenses in two
different ways. Drunk driving offenses can be prosecuted on the grounds
that an individual was impaired while driving.
The prosecuting attorney will provide sufficient evidence to uphold
these charges. Evidence can include field sobriety tests, driving
patterns, physical appearance, blood alcohol content, and chemical
tests. However under these charges an individual may be released even
though his or her blood alcohol content level was above the legal
limit. Dropped charges under these circumstances can happen as some
individuals are not intoxicated despite having blood alcohol content
levels above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Driving while intoxicated offenses can also be tried via per se law.
Per se law prosecutes drunk driving through proving that an individual
had a blood alcohol content percentage above the legal limit. The
prosecuting attorney will not attempt to show that the individual was
intoxicated while driving in per se law cases. An individual will be
charged solely for the reason of have a blood alcohol content above
When an individual receives a driver's license he or she gives implied
consent to submit to chemical testing when requested by a police
officer. If a police officer has reason to question an individual's
level of sobriety, he or she may legally ask for a blood alcohol
content test, a urine test, or a breath test. If an individual refuses
to submit to chemical testing, he or she will automatically have his or
her driver's license suspended.
Upon trial a jury or a judge will assume that test refusal is evidence
of guilt. Normally an individual will have his or her driver's license
suspended upon a drunk driving charge, but when he or she refuses
chemical testing the driver's license suspension will have longer time
periods and will be absolute.
Missouri DUI Consequences
Drunk driving offenses vary and depend on the number of prior offenses.
Offenses can be aggravated if a minor was in the vehicle upon the
arrest, if the individual was driving above the speed limit, if another
was injured, or if the individual's blood alcohol content was double
the legal limit. A first DUI offense can result in a five
hundred-dollar fine, no more than six months of imprisonment, two years
of probation, a possible ignition interlock device, and driver's
license suspension for thirty days.
A second DUI offense can earn up to one year in jail, a fine up to one
thousand dollars, two years of probation, a possible ignition interlock
device, and driver's license suspension for up to five years. A third
DUI offense can earn up to four years of incarceration, a five
thousand-dollar fine, and driver's license suspension for up to ten
years. A fourth DUI offense can earn up to seven years of
incarceration, up to five thousand dollars in fines, and driver's
license suspension for a minimum of ten years. All third or subsequent
DUI offenses are considered felony offenses.