When someone breaks the law, they face arrest if they get caught and criminal consequences if the state successfully prosecutes them. Certain offenses seem more serious to the average person than others.
Violent offenses like assault could seem more severe than nonviolent infractions, such as driving while intoxicated (DWI). Under Missouri law, anyone who gets behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher could face arrest and prosecution.
Given that it is both a common offense and one that doesn’t have a victim, those charged with a DWI might think of their offense as a minor charge and not something they need to worry about. However, even a first-time DWI charge can lead to life-altering consequences.
How does Missouri punish a first-time impaired driving conviction?
Someone who pleads guilty or gets convicted of their first DWI without property damage or injuries to others will face several different possible punishments. The charge is a Class B misdemeanor offense.
The state can impose a fine of up to $1,000 which is in addition to any court fees and insurance increases the defendant will incur. There’s also the potential of incarceration for up to six months or probation for two years. The state will revoke your license, meaning that you won’t be able to drive.
The fines, license suspension and jail time increase with subsequent convictions. Compared with the penalties for those who have repeat DWI charges, those first-time penalties don’t seem as serious. Still, even the somewhat lower penalties of a first-time DWI could cost you your job and cause plenty of other complications later.
It is possible to fight a DWI charge
Pleading guilty might mean that you get to bypass the embarrassment of going to court, but you also have to deal with a criminal record for the rest of your life. Chemical breath tests are not infallible, and many people successfully fight back against pending DWI charges.
Arrests may have different factors that allow for a defense. You may have several options available for defending yourself, depending on your situation. Deciding to defend yourself and fight back can help you put this issue behind you and protect your future.