Arrest Process for DUI/ DWI
Dealing with the arrest process for DUI / DWI can be intimidating. Lawyers from Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center can assist you with the process. Call now!
Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney
August 30. 2022.
DUI Arrests in Missouri
If someone is driving intoxicated in Missouri, law enforcement has the right to pull the driver over and arrest them. It doesn’t matter whether they have been drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, or taking over-the-counter medications. If an officer believes the driver cannot safely operate their vehicle because they are intoxicated, they will follow Missouri’s arrest process for DUI/DWI.
Difference Between DUI and DWI in Missouri?
Many states distinguish between driving under the influence (DUI), typically associated with drugs, and driving while intoxicated (DWI), usually referring to someone drinking and driving.
Missouri law states that intoxication occurs whenever a person consumes alcohol, a controlled substance or drug, or a combination of these substances. No distinction is made in Missouri. The DUI charge would still apply, regardless of the cause of the intoxication.
What Happens to You in a DWI Arrest?
If the police stop you, there is no guarantee that the officer will make an arrest. Typically, a law enforcement officer will stop you, ask you whether you have been drinking, and may administer standardized field sobriety tests such as the one-leg stand. When the officer confirms you failed to pass the field sobriety test, they will likely arrest you on the charge of DWI.
A DUI arrest can be highly stressful for anyone who is convicted of the offense. DWI is a criminal offense that involves driving, but it is different from getting a traffic ticket, as it can result in felony charges.
The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center’s Kansas City DWI lawyers can provide legal advice and assistance if you are arrested for DWI.
DUI and DWI Police Procedures
When the Police Can Stop You
Police usually pull a person over for a traffic violation or at the scene of an accident in a DUI. An officer may have observed you make an illegal turn, clocked you driving over the speed limit, or witnessed an improper lane change. The police reports will provide the details of why the police stopped you.
Traffic arrests usually begin by requesting your license or registration. The officer may also notice that you may be exhibiting symptoms that indicate impaired driving ability. You may have slurred speech, fumbling to find your documents, or smell of alcohol. The officer will note their observations in the police report.
When Police Can Search Your Car
If the police reasonably suspect that drugs or alcohol are present in your vehicle, then they have probable cause to search your car without a warrant. The vehicle may smell like marijuana, have an open alcohol container, or have a prescription medicine bottle on the passenger seat or console.
In such cases, police will ask you to step out of the vehicle and advise you that they will search your car. Out of politeness, they may ask if that is alright with you. However, they do not necessarily need your permission.
Police will ask for identification and for you to verify your address. They might also ask where you are coming from and whether you had anything to drink. If police suspect drug use, they may ask whether you have been prescribed medication by a doctor and what condition the medication is used to treat.
While you need to identify yourself, you do not have to answer more questions. The 5th amendment provides you the right to remain silent.
Mandatory Chemical Tests and Implied Consent
Missouri, like most states, has an implied consent law that requires drivers arrested on DUI charges to submit to a chemical test, such as a breath test. Whenever a police officer suspects you are under the influence of drugs, they can have a qualified professional administer a chemical test, such as a blood test, on a blood sample from you. Chemical testing confirms the blood alcohol level of the driver. Drivers that refuse to submit to chemical tests will have their driving privileges revoked for one year.
After a DWI Arrest, What Happens?
Upon arrest, you will be taken to the police station for booking and arraignment. Contact the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center for legal help and guidance. An experienced lawyer can explain the charges, review your case, and discuss your defense options.
Consequences of a DWI Conviction
In Missouri, a first-time DUI is considered a Class B Misdemeanor, which carries a punishment of up to $500 in fines, 6 months in jail, and a 90-day suspension of your driver’s license.
A second DWI is also a Misdemeanor, which carries a punishment of up to $1000 in fines, up to one year in jail, and one to five years suspension of your driver’s license. Upon license reinstatement, a mandatory ignition interlock device will be placed on your vehicle.
A third DWI is a felony offense, punishable by up to $5000 in fines, a five-year maximum prison sentence, and a ten-year driver’s license revocation.
Missouri DWI Administrative Penalties
In addition to the criminal consequences of a Kansas City, MO, DWI offense, the State of Missouri also will impose driver’s license sanctions, including:
- Points added to your driver’s license
- Driver’s license suspension for a specific period
- Revoking your driving privilege
Once you receive the Notice of Suspension of Revocation of Driving Privilege, you have fifteen days to file a request for an administrative hearing to review your driver’s license case.
While trying to defend yourself against a criminal conviction isn’t wise, you couldn’t defend yourself against losing your driving privileges simultaneously. A DUI case can be challenging, and the Missouri laws against DUI are complex.
Can Missouri DWIs be expunged?
In Missouri, a DWI conviction stays on your driving record for 10 years before it can be erased or expunged. Under Missouri statute 610.140, an individual can apply for the expungement of a misdemeanor or felony offense as long as:
- You have completed probation
- You are not charged with a crime currently, serving a prison sentence for a criminal offense, or on probation for a criminal offense.
Hire a Missouri DWI Attorney
Hiring trusted lawyers in Kansas City to represent you in a DWI case will significantly increase the chance of success after your arrest. An experienced Missouri DWI attorney who has tried DWI cases can help you craft a strong defense strategy. A DWI attorney can also assist you in finding a prior DWI arrest record and getting your DWI dismissed.
If you have been drinking, use our "Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Calculator"to estimate your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) before you drive, but please keep in mind that the information it provides is just an estimate and may not be inaccurate.