1. What is the difference between a DWI and a DUI?
By statute, there is no difference between driving while intoxicated and driving under the influence in Missouri.
2. When can you be charged with DWI?
When the arresting officer believes there is probable cause that you have operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or a combination thereof.
3. What is the difference between a felony and DWI and a misdemeanor DWI?
To be charged with a felony, you must have been convicted of 2 previous DWI convictions. These prior offenses may have occurred in any state. A misdemeanor is charged if you have one or no prior convictions.
4. To be charged with a felony what is a time limit for the consideration of previous convictions?
In Missouri, there is no time limit as to when the prior convictions occurred.
5. How soon should a lawyer be hired after you are charged with a DWI?
At your earliest convenience. Your license may be suspended or revoked after you are charged, and there are time limits to contest the suspension
6. How long will you lose your license if convicted?
First offense – 30 days
Second offense – One year if the previous conviction occurred more than 5 years from the date you are charged with the current one – five years if the prior offense was within 5 years.
Third or subsequent offense – 10 years, or for your lifetime if you are convicted after a 10 year revocation.
7. Can you lose your license if you are not convicted of a DWI?
Yes. The Department of Revenue can suspend or revoke your license 15 days after your arrest if you are arrested upon probable cause that you were operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 08 or greater. The term is 1 year if you have had an alcohol offense within 5 years.
8. If your license is suspended or revoked can you receive a hardship license or limited driving privilege?
Yes, with certain exceptions. You are not eligible if you are convicted of a felony DWI or you are convicted of DWI after a 10 year revocation.
9. If your convicted of a DWI is there a mandatory minimum jail or prison sentence?
Yes, depending on the number of prior convictions and the court you are charged in.
- Municipal Court – none; at Judge’s discretion
- State Courts –
1st offense – none, unless your blood alcohol level exceeds .15
2nd offense – within 5 years – 10 days
3rd offense – 30 days
4th offense – 60 days
5th or subsequent offense – 2 years
10. How long does a DWI conviction stay on my driving record?
If you have had only one DWI arrest and conviction, you may expunge or cancel all records of the arrest, plea, trail and or conviction after ten (10) years from the date of your guilty plea or conviction.