Many people have an idea of what drunk driving and driving under the influence are, but the terms, DWI, DUI, and DUID can often times be confusing. Though you may be somewhat familiar with the concepts, chances are you do not fully understand the difference between these terms and if there is a big significance to them. Below, our talented legal team has provided an article about each of these terms and their legal meanings to give you a better understanding of them. Even with this new knowledge, we still recommend speaking to an experienced St. Louis attorney about the specifics regarding your recent DWI, DUI, or DUID case.
What is the different between a DUI and DWI in Missouri?
Under Missouri law, it is clear that there is no real difference between a DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated). Not all states adhere to these terms representing the same crime. Some states look at DUIs as being more serious offenses then DWIs. Missouri treats a DWI and DUI the same. In fact, in Missouri the preferred term is DWI, and a DWI is given to those who are found to be operating a motor vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08% or greater. DWIs can also be imposed on those drivers that are under the age of twenty-one who are caught driving with a blood alcohol content of .02% or greater. Punishments for these crimes can differ depending on the motorist’s driving history.
A first time offender of a Missouri DWI will usually receive a Class B misdemeanor charge. Someone facing their first DWI charge in Missouri can face up to six months in prison and legal fines up to $500. A criminal conviction for a first offender of a DWI also leads to the suspension of that driver’s license for at least thirty days. Also a longer period in which there are driving restrictions or there can be restrictions on when and where the offender can drive. The more intoxicated-related traffic offenses you have on your criminal record the harsher the penalties are moving forward. The more times you are convicted for DWI or crimes similar to them, the worse the consequences and punishments will be.
What is a DUID charge in St. Louis?
In Missouri there is another category of intoxicated-related driving offenses, known as a DUID (driving under the influence of drugs). A DWI is apparent when a person’s BAC is tested and it is over the .08% or greater. A DUID does not share such clear limits like that of a DWI and it’s BAC test. This means that any amount, no matter how little of a drug or drugs that impairs you from being able to drive safely, can be enough to be charged of a DUID. Those individuals charged with DUIDs are accused of operating a vehicle while being under the influence of some type of intoxicating substance. This can include illegal drugs, narcotic prescriptions, and even in some cases over the counter medicines. Those faced with a DUID charge can be dealt the same punishments no matter if the drugs were illegal or if they were merely over the counter meds. For example, someone charged with a DUID from using an over the counter cold medication can receive the same sentence as someone charged with a DUID for cocaine.
The potential punishments and penalties for a DUID conviction in the state of Missouri are the same as those in place for DWI conviction. The law states that those convicted of ether a DWI or DUID are eligible to receive up to six months in jail and fines up to $500. Both of these convictions will also include the loss of driving privileges. Due to the Missouri Abuse and Lose law, if you enter a guilty plea of driving under the influence of drugs you will more than likely lose your license for a year. Also if you are arrested for a DUID, there is also a chance of a drug possession charge if applicable.
Another thing most people find surprising in Missouri, is that within the state you can be charged with a DUID if you are driving impaired regardless of the amount of drugs that are found in your system when you arrested. There is no clear legal limit or clear line that is provided for DUIDs. This can be very a very maddening part of Missouri law. For example, a driver that might have used marijuana a week before being pulled over for being suspected of a DUI, could blow under a .08% and still be charged with a DWI. This is because the driver will likely test positive for a THC metabolite. A metabolite is simply what THC becomes within the body as it is being broken down. This is the same for other drugs, as state labs are designed to detect these drug metabolites, not the present of drugs themselves. Prosecutors rarely take all the time needed or have extensive knowledge, to adequately interpret the lab results correctly. Typically someone that is charged with a DUID will need to hire a toxicologist or other experts to help in their case defense.
One of the good points about DWI and DUID law is that it has one caveat that keeps the law from being too broadly applied by police. Police officers in Missouri, still must have probable cause to assume that a driver was operating their vehicle while impaired or under the influence. Law enforcement must have probable cause before they are allowed to ask you to submit to a DWI or DUID test. This is something that a skilled DWI/DUID attorney will use to make their defense strategy stronger.
Meet with a St. Louis DWI Attorney to Discuss Your Case
If you have recently been involved in a DWI or DUID and are facing charges, it is in your best interests to contact an experienced St. Louis attorney. At Hollingshead and Dudley, we have represented numerous clients faced with DWI and DUID charges. Let our competent legal team advise you through this complex legal process and bring you the best possible outcome for your case. Call our office today if you have any questions regarding your recent DWI or DUID case, and receive a free consultation from one of our skilled DWI/DUID attorneys.