Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense in Missouri, and the state has strict laws to combat impaired driving. The legal consequences of a conviction can be severe even for a first-time offender, but they escalate significantly for repeat offenders.
Missouri’s legal system recognizes that those who repeatedly violate DWI laws pose a greater risk to public safety. Therefore, the penalties are more dire, designed to deter repeat offenses and protect the lives of both motorists and pedestrians.
First, it’s important to understand when you are considered a repeat offender. In a nutshell, you become a repeat DWI offender when you are convicted of a subsequent DWI. If you make it 5 years before your second DWI, the state has to charge you with the same level DWI as a first offender. However, most prosecutor’s, as a practical matter will not give someone particularly close to that 5 year mark the benefit of a first time DWI plea bargain offer. Here is what you need to know about Missouri laws for repeat DWI offenders.
Repeat DWI offenders face stiffer penalties, including longer license suspensions, increased fines and longer jail sentences. A second or subsequent DWI conviction can lead to mandatory jail time, which can range from a few days to several months, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.
If you receive three or more DWI convictions, the third DWI offense is considered a Class E felony, which carries even harsher consequences. Felony convictions can result in longer prison sentences than misdemeanors and a criminal record that can have a lasting impact on one’s life.
Missouri law imposes strict limitations on expungement (removal) of DWI convictions.
The penalties and collateral consequences for repeat DWI offenses in Missouri can be severe and life-altering. If you are facing this situation, it is advisable to seek legal guidance to explore your options and understand the best course of action. It can help protect your interests and mitigate the potential long-term consequences.