Missouri, like other states in the country, has laws that prohibit driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As one would expect, these laws place limits on the amount of alcohol a person can have in their blood while driving. If a person is found driving while over these limits, they may lose their driver's license and be required to agree to future alcohol and drug testing.
Missouri residents may be charged with drunk driving based on the results provided by a flawed breath test machine. That was the main takeaway of a report published by the New York Times. The New York Times report was based on a broader survey that examined the accuracy of these machines across the nation. In Massachusetts, 36,000 cases were thrown over a period of 12 months because of a myriad of problems with evidence gathered by breath test devices.
Police officers in Missouri and around the country usually rely on the results of breath tests to determine whether or not a motorist consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel, but the devices used to conduct these tests do not always reveal the complete picture. There is an obscure medical condition that changes the way carbohydrates are digested, and it can lead to significantly elevated blood alcohol levels even when a person has consumed no alcohol at all.
As cannabis becomes decriminalized or legalized for recreational or medical use in Missouri and many other states, questions have been raised about driving under the influence of marijuana. Drunk driving charges are based on blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, and the legal limit of 0.08 was established after lengthy studies examining the effect of alcohol on driving. It is relatively easy for police to test BAC without invasive devices by making use of roadside or in-station breath tests. The driver blows into the device, which measures BAC through assessing alcohol in the breath. While the breath test is now standard and widely accepted, it was initially controversial and heavily disputed.
When criminal defense attorneys in Missouri and around the country represent motorists accused of driving while intoxicated, they may question the reliability of toxicology evidence or the legality of a traffic stop. However, there are situations where attorneys may mount what is known as an affirmative defense. Attorneys mounting such a defense do not deny that their clients got behind the wheel after drinking, but they do introduce new facts to explain their behavior.
Once your license suspension for a DWI conviction in Missouri has expired, you must take certain steps to have your driving privileges reinstated.