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What Are the Possible Consequences for a DWI Charge?

What Are the Possible Consequences for a DWI Charge?

What Are the Possible Consequences for a DWI Charge?

Driving while intoxicated, commonly referred to as DWI, is a serious offense that carries significant penalties. Being charged with a DWI in Missouri can be an intimidating experience. It is crucial to understand what this charge entails and how it can impact your life. Building a strong defense becomes essential in protecting yourself from the severe consequences that may follow. As an experienced attorney, I, Scott A. Hamblin, can help you review your options to protect your rights when facing a DWI charge.

What Does a DWI Charge Entail?

In Missouri, a DWI charge implies operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The severity of the penalties that follow a conviction largely depends on whether it’s the offender’s first offense or if they have prior convictions.

Penalties for a First-Time DWI Offense

Being convicted for a first-offense DWI in Missouri is classified as a Class B misdemeanor. This could lead to a penalty of up to six months of jail time and a fine of up to $1,000.00. Additionally, a person could face a 90-day suspension of the offender’s driver’s license. However, if the offender has no prior alcohol-related traffic offenses, they may be eligible for a restricted license after 30 days of suspension.

Penalties for Repeat Offenses

The penalties become harsher for repeat offenders. A second DWI conviction within five years is considered a Class A misdemeanor, carrying a year-long revocation of the driver’s license. If the same offense is committed within five years, the offender may face license denial for up to 5 years.

A third DWI conviction or more within a lifetime makes the offender eligible to be charged as a felony offense, which can lead to several years in jail alongside thousands of dollars in fines.

Consequences on Your Record

Apart from the immediate penalties, a DWI conviction also results in a criminal record. This could potentially affect employment opportunities, housing applications, and even education prospects. Missouri law does allow individuals convicted of a first-time DWI to apply for an expungement of their records after ten years, provided they have not been convicted of any other intoxication-related traffic offenses in the meantime.

The Importance of Legal Representation

The process of resolving a DWI charge can take months, during which your life may be put on hold. Given the complexity of the laws and the severity of the penalties, it is crucial to seek legal representation. An experienced attorney like myself can provide a candid and honest assessment of your case, advise you on the risks and benefits associated with your case, and work tirelessly to provide the best possible outcome.

Call Today for a Consultation

Understanding the potential consequences of a DWI charge in Missouri is crucial to navigating the legal landscape. Penalties can range from fines and jail time to license suspension and a permanent mark on your record. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can build a strong defense and protect yourself from these severe consequences. Remember, every case is unique, and having a dedicated advocate on your side can make all the difference. Call my law office today, and we can set up a consultation to review your case.

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