Driving home from a holiday party, you commit a minor traffic violation, and an officer pulls you over in Missouri. After noticing signs of intoxication, you consent to a breath test and face a DWI arrest. You know that penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol prove strict if convicted, and you worry about how your life will change following a DWI arrest.
The most important element in fighting a DWI charge is hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney. These attorneys have knowledge in finding accurate defenses to crimes and helping you avoid maximum punishments. It is essential that you do not fight DWI charges alone.
Maximum DWI penalties
According to Missouri law, first-time DWI offenders could face the following penalties.
- Up to $500 in fines
- Up to 6 months in prison, depending on your charge circumstances
- Alcohol dependency treatment or programs
Yet perhaps the most damaging penalty could lie in the loss of your license for 90 days. Your attorney may have the ability to help you apply for a restricted driving license, but these 90 days can drastically change your ability to commute to and from your employment, attend family events or even buy groceries.
Hiring an attorney with criminal law expertise can give you the best opportunity to avoid maximum punishments. DWI convictions stay on your record for 10 years in Missouri, and a second conviction can bring longer jail time, higher fines, an extensive license suspension and even the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). Do not represent yourself if you face DWI charges.