Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney
August 30. 2022.
DUI Arrests in Missouri
If someone is driving while intoxicated in Missouri, law enforcement can 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 arresting officer believes the driver cannot safely operate their vehicle because they are intoxicated, they will follow Missouri’s arrest process for DUI/DWI.
When a driver is arrested for DUI/DWI in Missouri, law enforcement will take them to a criminal justice center where they will be charged with criminal and administrative penalties. The criminal penalty involves criminal conviction, jail time, fines, and possibly probation. The administrative penalty is a driver’s license suspension or revocation issued by the Missouri Department of Revenue.
Whether you’re facing DUI/DWI charges for the first time or are a repeat offender, Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center can provide experienced legal assistance. Our experienced DWI lawyers understand the legalities of Missouri’s laws and will provide you with a comprehensive defense strategy to help reduce or dismiss your charges.
What is the 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.
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 while 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 exhibit impaired driving ability symptoms. You may have slurred speech, fumble to find your documents, or smell 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 in your vehicle, 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 must 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 if the driver has an excessive blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Drivers that refuse to submit to chemical tests will have their driving privileges revoked for one year.
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.