You Really Can’t Get a Missouri Aggravated DWI

Missouri aggravated DWIWhile most states in this country have levels of DUI/DWI offenses, the state of Missouri has no such charge as a Missouri aggravated DWI. Instead of levels of DWI offenses, they have levels of offenders. As you move up the ladder of offender types, not only do the penalties increase (everyone faces an ignition interlock requirement), the severity of the charge does also. The levels of a Missouri DWI offender are prior, persistent, aggravated, and chronic.

Prior Missouri DWI Offender
A prior offender is anyone who has either been found guilty or plead guilty to a prior DWI offense. This elevates your charge to a class A misdemeanor and increases your jail time and fines. You also are not eligible for probation unless you serve 10 days in county jail or 240 hours of community service.

Persistent Missouri DWI Offender
A persistent offender is someone who is receiving their third DWI conviction. The charge is now a class D felony and you could be ordered to serve up to four years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. You are not eligible for parole until you’ve served 30 days in prison or 480 hours of community service. Also, because this is a felony, you may be required to serve up to 5 years of probation.

Aggravated Missouri DWI Offender
You will be classified an aggravated offender (not have a Missouri aggravated DWI offense) and serve up to 7 years in prison if you are convicted of a 4th DWI in your lifetime, have any previous felony assault with a motor vehicle while under the influence convictions, have a previous involuntary manslaughter conviction or murder in the 2nd degree while operating a motor vehicle conviction, and/or have a previous 2nd degree assault on a law enforcement official/police officer while operating a motor vehicle. This is a C felony and you must serve 60 days in prison.

Chronic Missouri DWI Offender
If you have been convicted of 5 or more DWI offenses, you are a chronic offender. You will serve a minimum of 2 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections without the possibility of probation or parole until after those 2 years have been served.

Missouri does not have a Missouri aggravated DWI because their offender step-up program makes it unnecessary. The state’s standard punishments are plenty harsh and discouraging for drivers.

How to Get Back on the Road after a Missouri DWI

driving after a Missouri DWIWhen your license is revoked or suspended due to drinking and driving, it can make your life difficult. If there’s no mass transit in your area, you have to rely on friends, family, and expensive taxi services to get you where you’re going. Some states will allow you to regain some of your driving privileges after part of your revocation period has passed, as long as certain conditions are met.

Missouri DWI offenders have the opportunity to obtain a Limited Driving Privilege (LDP) if their driving privilege is suspended, revoked, or denied and not currently eligible for reinstatement. This allows you to be able to drive for employment or other important reasons. You have to serve 30 days, or 90 if you refused BAC testing, of your revocation or suspension period before you’re eligible for an LDP. On your first Missouri DWI offense, you usually don’t have to serve any revocation period at all as long as you have an ignition interlock device installed.

Here are the steps for obtaining an LDP after a Missouri DWI:

  • Determine if you are eligible for an LDP.
  • Make an appointment and have your ignition interlock device
  • Fill out the application for an LDP.
  • Completion form from your substance abuse program if you were ordered to participate in one.
  • Proof of financial responsibility, such as an SR-22 form.
  • Send these documents plus your reinstatement fee to the DMV.
  • If your license has been revoked for at least a year, you will have to take and pass a complete driver’s examination and apply for a new license.

If convicted of a Missouri DWI, you will be subjected to many penalties such as fines, jail time, license revocation, completion of a substance abuse program, and the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device. But, the effects on your life are much longer reaching. Make the smart decision to always use a designated driver or alternate method of transportation if you’ve been drinking.

Those Missouri Ignition Interlock Violations Will Cost You

missouri-ignition-interlock-violations-cost-youThe Missouri ignition interlock program is committed to keeping drunk drivers from making another intoxicated mistake. Unfortunately, not all DWI drivers are as committed to safe driving, even with an interlock device. Instead, they risk Missouri ignition interlock violations for trying to get out of their court- or DMV-ordered requirement. The penalties and consequences for those violations just show how much Missouri wants you to get done with your device and be a safer driver once it is removed.

Risking Missouri ignition interlock violations means that you may have:

  • Violated the Missouri ignition interlock laws by not using the device installed on your vehicle. Either you used another vehicle you owned that was not equipped with the device or you borrowed someone’s vehicle.
  • In some cases, refusing a test may happen during a rolling retest, or while the vehicle is being driven. If this was unintentional, you should have an opportunity to test once you are out of traffic. Not testing once you are in a safe place will then be considered a violation.
  • You blew a test result that was over the pre-set limit, indicating you have been drinking and attempted to drive.
  • Missing a service appointment is one of the Missouri ignition interlock violations

In most cases, these violations will add a mandatory six-month extension of the interlock requirement onto your current court order. In other cases, you could be removed from your interlock program or even face jail time. If your BAC is reportable, then you could face additional drunk driving charges and the penalties for those.

Remember that despite the influence of alcohol, you made a choice to drive while intoxicated. With an ignition interlock device, you face similar choices when you start your vehicle. Risking Missouri ignition interlock violations is more hassle than it is worth, and discovering that the hard way should never be a part of your recovery after a DWI.

Lose the Loophole: Missouri Ignition Interlock Exemption

Missouri ignition interlock employment exemptionWhen you have a Missouri DWI you likely have a Missouri ignition interlock device, so that you can keep your job and any other obligations moving along. In some cases your job may require you to drive a company-owned vehicle, which leaves you in a bit of a pickle. You are not supposed to drive any vehicle unless it has an interlock installed, but you do not own the vehicle your boss needs you to drive. When you are a business owner, that may seem like a pretty easy way to get out of an interlock requirement.

However, a new bill has been introduced in the Missouri legislature that closes that tempting loophole, leaving you with the same problem as everyone else… and no chance at a Missouri ignition interlock employment exemption.

Missouri ignition interlock devices are required for some first-time and all second or subsequent DWI offenses. Offenders who wish to install the device may be eligible for an interlock license through the DMV.

Currently, anyone can be eligible for the Missouri ignition interlock employment exemption, if their job requires driving a company vehicle. If allowed by the court, a DWI offender can have their employer sign an affidavit that affirms they understand all about the drunk driving conviction and restrictions placed on their employee. On top of that, they take responsibility for their employee who must drive a company vehicle during work hours. For business owners or self-employed individuals, taking that responsibility is basically allowing a pass on the ignition interlock device.

Ignition interlocks only work if they are used, and if there is nothing stopping a convicted offender from drinking and driving again, they could easily re-offend. By closing up this loophole for self-employed or business owners in Missouri, we are all granted the peace of mind of safer streets and DWI offenders who cannot get around the consequences of their actions.

A Second Missouri DWI in Five Years?

Second Missouri DWIOne drunk driving incident can be a big deal, but just enough to make an offender know they may be headed down a dangerous road. A second offense is what really triggers stricter penalties. Those penalties may depend on the time that has passed between first and second offenses; the look-back period. As such, a second Missouri DWI only counts if that offense occurs within five years of the first DWI conviction.

Consequences for a second Missouri DWI include:

  • Class A misdemeanor criminal record.
  • Up to one year in jail.
  • Up to $1,000 in fines.
  • One-year driver’s license revocation.

In some ways, the look-back period gives an offender with a second Missouri DWI a second chance, at least when it comes to less restrictive consequences in court. Any second offense outside of the look-back period will be treated as a first-time offense. However, the look-back period does not mean the first conviction is removed from your criminal record or driving record; you will still have consequences like a mandatory ignition interlock installation requirement and you will have 12 points added to your Missouri driver’s license. If the offenses are within the look-back period, you will also face a five-year driver’s license denial.

Be careful with that second DWI charge – any agreement to expunge a first-time Missouri DWI from your record will no longer be valid, and you will face the full consequences of both incidents. Also, any additional drunk driving charge, even outside of Missouri, will count in the full tally of incidents.

The line between how severe drunk driving consequences seems to be the look-back period, but it really is our intention to get home safely at the end of a night. Knowing your DWI timeline is much less important than just making better choices to keep you out of the courtroom, and back home where you want to be.

The Heat is On: Missouri Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

missouri drive soberSummer seems to be coming to a quick ending, with fond memories of the sunshine and breezy times we enjoyed with friends. Like most summer fun, plenty of those memories were enhanced with alcohol, from backyard barbecues with family to beach blanket beverages. As we wrap up another great summer season, here’s another reminder that the only way to stay safe is to follow the Missouri Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign’s advice: just don’t drink and drive.

In 2015 Missouri saw a rise in DUI rates of 23 percent, causing the state to increase awareness and law enforcement efforts. Those efforts included  the Missouri Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. The effort is year-long but will step up visibility at times when DUI rates historically rise.

If you are guilty of drunk driving in Missouri even one time you will face the following (and possibly more):

  • First-time offenders will have their license suspended for 90 days, be ordered to pay up to $500 in fines and possibly serve six months in jail.
  • Minors or those under the age of 21, who are found in possession of alcohol will lose their license on top of standard Missouri DUI penalties.
  • Second or subsequent DUI offenders will have a lengthy ignition interlock requirement.
  • If a fatality occurs as a result of a DUI, the offender can be charged with involuntary manslaughter and face those penalties, too.

From the middle of August through Labor Day weekend, Missouri Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over law enforcement efforts will be stepped up. That means more sobriety checkpoints and more reminders across the state that drinking and driving can literally kill the best of summer moments. When we have a plan to get home, even after a summer picnic with family, we are showing a shared commitment to only drive sober and keep those summer memories the best kind possible.

How to Drive After a First-time Missouri DUI

after a Missouri DUIThe first time you drive under the influence of alcohol, you could be looking at a criminal record. In states like Missouri, a first-time DUI is a misdemeanor charge. You’ll face Missouri DUI consequences that send a strong message about your future as a habitual drunk driver. Fortunately the court also sees that a first time DUI can be a turning point and that you need to keep driving in order to keep your job and life moving forward.

Ignition interlocks are effective in reducing repeat drunk driving offenses by 67 percent while the device is installed compared to license
suspension alone. (CDC)Interlocks help reduce repeat

You have two options that allow you to keep driving after a first-time DUI in Missouri, both of which require you install an ignition interlock device on any vehicles you own or operate.

90-Day Restricted Driving Privileges (RDP): Once you receive a notice about your license suspension, you can apply for an immediate RDP license. You will have to submit proof of your ignition interlock installation and an SR-22 insurance form to the state to be eligible. If the RDP is granted, you may serve the entire 90-day suspension period by driving with the interlock.

60-Day Restricted Driving Privileges (RDP): You will need to serve 30 of the 90-days of your suspension period before you can legally drive with the RDP and ignition interlock device. You will have to submit proof of your ignition interlock installation and an SR-22 insurance form.

Interlocks help reduce repeat offenses even after the device is removed by 39 percent compared to offenders who never installed an interlock. (Marques, 2010)

After a Missouri DUI, if you follow the directive of the court when driving with your RDP, the time you use your ignition interlock device will pass quickly and you’ll be able to maintain your freedom to drive independently. Since a first-time DUI is still a serious matter, the commitment you show to the court with your ignition interlock will show everyone that you are serious about never drinking and driving again.

Cutting the Costs of a Missouri DWI

Cost of Missouri DWIThe costs of a Missouri drunk driving conviction (Missouri DWI) are high. On average, across the U.S., a first-offense, simple (no injury, death or property damage) DWI is expected to cost around $10,000. A Missouri DWI, however, can end up costing you a lot more than what’s average, especially when lost wages and other troubles are taken into consideration.

Administrative penalties for a Missouri DWI include license suspensions and fees to have a license reinstated. If you refuse the breathalyzer at the time of your arrest, that tacks on additional fees and consequences. You’ll also have higher insurance rates and an ignition interlock requirement. There are also costs associated with the Missouri Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program (SATOP) that will need to be paid as part of your court-ordered Missouri DWI consequences.

Fortunately, ignition interlock devices actually decrease the financial impact of a Missouri DWI.

An ignition interlock device allows you the freedom to continue driving as if you didn’t get into DWI trouble. In exchange, all you need to do is provide a breath sample to prove you are sober while driving. You no longer have to worry about how you’ll get to work or to important appointments and others on the roads don’t have to worry about whether you are sober while driving. Once you have met the requirements for your interlock restriction, the device is removed and you are able to move on with your life.

One of the best ways to help those who have gotten a Missouri DWI and are facing the high cost of those actions is to facilitate the independence needed to get back on steady ground. Reliable, safe and personally-owned transportation is a part of that, which is why an ignition interlock device actually reduces the overall financial impact of a Missouri DWI.

The Uber Water Missouri BWI Prevention Solution has Arrived!

Missouri BWI prevention appAcross the U.S. the impact of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft has been perhaps most notable in DWI prevention. It becomes almost a reflex to book a safe ride home for many who shrug off their fear of leaving their vehicle. Considering the alternatives, including the cost of a DWI, ignition interlock requirement and overall regret factor, a $20 Uber just makes sense. That’s probably why Missouri BWI prevention may have a new tool in its kit: a watercraft-sharing app.

Anchor, the Lake of the Ozarks answer to Uber, is providing safe, dock-to-dock transportation service for those who enjoy a little extra liquid adventures while on the lake. Considering the serious nature of a Missouri BWI and the success of land-based ridesharing apps, Anchor should be able to keep those intoxicated boating incidents down significantly.

A Missouri BWI and DWI both use blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to define the criminal offense (.08 percent BAC). At that level, a Missouri BWI offender will face:

  • Class B misdemeanor charge (first offense).
  • Class A misdemeanor (second offense).
  • Class D felony (third or higher offenses).
  • Felony charges if the BWI results in the death or serious injury of another.

At .15 BAC, it gets even more restrictive, and if you are convicted of more than one Missouri BWI, you could be ordered into a 24/7 alcohol monitoring program.

A day on the lake can seem like the ideal time to celebrate the great outdoors with friends and family, and maybe let loose a little too much. Keep in mind that a boat is still a vehicle and that people can be harmed just as easily on lakes, rivers, and other waterways as they can on our streets. With common sense and the safety of relying on services like Anchor, Uber or your designated driver, you can be sure to spend many more summers on the water, celebrating the best of times with those you love the most.

Technology Takes on Missouri DWI Drivers… and Wins

Missouri DWI technology is saving livesSpringfield, Missouri DWI numbers are down this year, giving the rest of the state hope for a better year for drunk driving prevention. This reduction in numbers is being credited to the rideshare service Uber, one of our favorite ways to get home safely, too. Realistically, Uber would be nothing without people who are willing to pull out those smartphones and order a safe ride home. Congratulations to Springfield residents who are taking advantage of the technology available to get home safely.

In cities where Uber isn’t available (or it was, and then it wasn’t), the ease of finding that safe ride home declines, but it isn’t impossible. In Austin, one of those cities in which Uber and Lyft were both active until the services were pulled in 2016, local rideshare services are picking up where the big ones left off. The importance is not in the name of the company, but that people are using their best judgment and not risking a Missouri DWI, an Austin DWI or any kind of drunk driving incident when other options are available.

For a first-offense Missouri DWI, offenders face strict penalties in court and through the Missouri Department of Revenue. There are court costs and fines, as well as a mandatory ignition interlock requirement through the court. However, the MV/DL allows you to install the interlock rather than wait out the suspension time until you get to court. That way, you can keep driving as normal, while proving you are sober behind the wheel.

Technology is quickly picking up where intoxicated judgment leaves off, preventing new Missouri DWI problems each day. Whether you rely on your smartphone to help you get home when you’ve been drinking, or you are faced with an ignition interlock requirement from a previous DWI, those little gadgets are priceless in this fight to keep all streets safe.

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