If you were arrested for driving while impaired (DWI), you might be facing severe penalties. Your breathalyzer or blood test might have shown you recently consumed intoxicants, and therefore you assume that conviction is inevitable—however, it is not.
Depending on the circumstances, an attorney could develop a strategy that might spare you from having a conviction on your record. Even if a prosecutor has sufficient evidence, you could avoid severe consequences of a DWI conviction if you have professional help from a defense attorney. Call an experienced Park Hills DWI lawyer as soon as possible if you face charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are standing by to help you navigate the complexities of a daunting legal system.
Although most people use the term DWI to refer to an offense that involves driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Missouri statutes describe two separate crimes related to impaired driving.
According to Missouri Revised Statutes §577.010, a motorist may receive a driving while intoxicated charge if they exhibit impairment, even if the driver refuses a breathalyzer or blood test. Signs of impairment could include erratic driving, slurred speech, driver admissions, witness statements, or an odor of alcohol or drugs.
Meanwhile, a driver is guilty per se of operating under the influence if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds .08. No other evidence of impairment is necessary to charge a driver with intoxication.
Prosecutors can file either of these charges as a Class B misdemeanor if it is a driver’s first impaired driving offense within five years. If convicted, an offender may face up to six months in county jail and a $500 fine.
Some counties in this state will allow an offender to plead guilty to charges and receive a suspended sentence of two years’ probation. If an offender completes probation without incident, the DWI conviction will not appear on a public record. However, the penalty will be a prior offense if the driver faces such charges again. An attorney in Park Hills could investigate the options for a person facing either kind of DWI charge and fight for a positive case outcome.
When a person faces a second impaired driving offense within five years, a court must impose at least a five-day jail term or 30 days of supervised community service. A court may also charge them with a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a punishment of up to one year in jail and a $1000 fine.
However, if someone faces their third impaired driving charge within ten years, the offense is a Class D felony with potential penalties of up to five years in prison and a $5000 fine. The minimum sentence is at least ten days in jail or 60 days of supervised community service. Anyone convicted of an impaired driving offense for the third time within ten years is considered a persistent offender.
If a judge grants a repeat offender limited driving privileges to get to work or school, the driver must use an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for at least one month. In addition to criminal penalties, a person convicted of multiple impaired driving offenses could face a license suspension for five or ten years but can apply for limited driving privileges. A knowledgeable lawyer in Park Hill could explain charges to individuals facing a DWI conviction and help reduce their punishment.
In some cases, a diligent defense attorney could challenge the procedures an officer used to administer a breathalyzer test and question the validity of lab results.
For example, if a driver did not submit to a breathalyzer or chemical test, a legal representative could review an officer’s report, including field sobriety test notes, body camera footage, and dashboard camera. Similarly, if an officer administered a field sobriety test incorrectly, or a legal advocate notes any improprieties, this representation could present issues to a prosecutor and demand the dismissal of charges.
In most DWI and BAC cases, a seasoned lawyer in Park Hills could negotiate a reduced charge with minimal permanent consequences for an alleged offender. If circumstances warrant, a legal team member could defend a client at trial and seek an acquittal.
Facing impaired driving charges is frightening, but it does not mean that you must live with the consequences for the rest of your life. A competent defense attorney could fight to resolve a DWI or BAC case without it permanently impacting your record. You deserve an aggressive defender. Contact a Park Hills DWI lawyer today.
Maynard & Joyce, LLC