Driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges are among the most severe driving-related offenses possible in Missouri. They are also among the most common criminal charges levied by prosecutors, and many people plead guilty without fully considering the implications of doing so.
Unlike most traffic violations, which only result in financial penalties and possibly insurance or licensing consequences, DWI charges result in criminal prosecution. Possible penalties include jail or probation, large fines and even license suspension.
Those who lose their driving privileges often have a difficult time continuing their jobs and taking care of their families. They may incur major expenses trying to manage their lives without their own transportation. Does someone accused of a first-time DWI offense have to worry about losing their license if they plead guilty or get convicted at trial?
Even first offenses can cost someone their license
License suspension is a reasonable penalty given the nature of a DWI offense. Therefore, even a first-time conviction for someone with no prior criminal record could result in a license suspension. Typically, a standard DWI offense for someone with no prior record of drunk driving will lead to a 90-day license suspension.
Those with prior offenses can expect to face an even longer suspension that lasts for a full year or even as long as a decade if they have multiple prior offenses. Preserving driving privileges requires a defense strategy. High blood alcohol levels can also increase the penalties that the courts impose.
If someone wants to avoid the penalties that the courts will likely hand down for a DWI conviction, their best option for reducing the possible penalties will involve preventing a conviction. Some of the ways that people defend against DWI charges will include presenting medical evidence to show there is a reason they fail the breath test or challenging the legality of a traffic stop and therefore the evidence that the police gathered.
Employing a thoughtful approach given the circumstances and the state’s evidence could help someone avoid a conviction and thereby preserve their driving privileges. Familiarizing oneself with the possible penalties associated with DWI charges may help drivers make more informed choices after a roadside arrest.