In the state of Missouri, any prior alcohol related offenses that you have committed before in your lifetime can come back to haunt you as an enhancement of your recent DWI or DUI to a felony charge. Generally, when you are arrested for driving under the influence the officer will check your background for prior charges. If you do have prior offenses showing within the system or you admit to having a prior charge, your case may be charged as a felony. In the area of St.Louis, if you are being charged for a felony DWI or DUI you normally will not get a ticket or a court date until all your prior offenses have been verified. If you have two or more prior offenses verified, then a felony warrant will be issued in the county where you were arrested. These types of DWI/DUI cases can be tricky to manage on your own. Having a skilled Missouri DWI lawyer can help you make the best legal decisions moving forward through this process. If you have been recently arrested for a felony DUI/DWI charge please let one of our competent attorneys help defend your legal rights. Hollingshead and Dudley, have made a sound reputation of fighting for their St.Louis DWI/DUI clients.
Felony DWI/DUI charges in Missouri are classified in four different categories. A person who has already been found guilty of a traffic offense involving intoxication, that occurred within five years of the arrest is known as a prior offender. A persistent offender is an individual who has been found guilty of two or more intoxication-related traffic offenses, that took place on separate occasions. Or a persistent offender can be classified by one intoxication-related driving offense committed that violates any state law, federal offense, county or municipal ordinance, or military offense in which the driver operating the vehicle was intoxicated and injured or killed another innocent person.
What is an aggravated, chronic, and habitual DUI offender in Missouri?
An aggravated offender is an individual who is guilty of three or more intoxication-related traffic offenses that occurred on three or more different occasions. One would also be considered an aggravated offender that has two or more intoxication-related traffic offenses that occurred on separate dates. Plus at least one of the intoxicated traffic offenses violated any state law, military offense, federal offense, or county or municipal ordinance in which the defendant was driving while intoxicated, and hurt or killed another individual.
A chronic offender is someone who has been found guilty of four or more intoxicated driving traffic offenses that took place on separate occasions. The other example of a chronic offender would be someone with three or more intoxicated traffic offenses committed on separate occasions. Within those three or more offenses, if any state law, county or municipal ordinance, military offense, or any federal offense in which the driver was operating the vehicle intoxicated, and this causes them to hurt or kill another individual then they would be considered a chronic offender. A chronic offender can also be someone that injures or kills another individual while breaking any state, federal, military or country law and has two or more intoxication-related traffic offenses, occurring on separate dates.
Lastly, a habitual offender is someone who has five or more intoxication-related traffic offenses that occurred on different occasions. A habitual offender can also be someone with four separate intoxicated driving offenses, where one of those intoxicated traffic offenses injured or hurt another person while violating any state law, military offense, county or municipal ordinance. Also if the individual has three or more intoxication-related traffic offenses that took place at separate times, and someone was injured or killed while violating any state law, county or municipal ordinances, federal offense or military offense due to driving intoxicated, they too would be considered an habitual offender. There are a few more specifics for DUI/DWI felony charges.
What is considered criminal negligence?
If the individual driving while intoxicated acted with criminal negligence, they can be considered to be an habitual offender due to the extent of the criminal negligence. For example, if the defendant caused the death of another person(not inside the car with the defendant), and the accident includes the intoxicated drivers’ car leaving the highway or the correct right of way, then he or she would be considered a habitual offender. If the intoxicated driver causes the death of two or more people outside of their own vehicle, they will get automatically bumped up to a habitual offender. Lastly if the defendant caused the death of someone while he or she had a blood alcohol content at or over eighteen-hundredths of one percent by the weight of alcohol in the defendant’s blood, they can be considered an habitual offender. Habitual offenders almost always receive the toughest punishments. If you are dealing with a felony DUI/DWI, it is in your best interests to hire an experienced and accomplished Missouri DUI/DWI attorney to represent you and your case.
If you are driving with an excessive blood alcohol content then your first offense will most likely be a Class B misdemeanor. For your second separate excessive blood alcohol offense you will likely receive a Class A misdemeanor, after your priors have been looked at. A Class E felony is given to the defendant that has proved to be a persistent offender. If the defendant is proven to be an aggravated offender then the charge will be a Class D felony. A Class C felony is given to those that have been proved to be a chronic offender. If the defendant is alleged and proven to be a habitual offender then a Class B felony would be given.
Consult with a St. Louis DUI Attorney Today
As one can see, DWI/DUI charges and cases can be extremely complicated business. Hollingshead and Dudley have an experienced legal team that is up to date and knowledgeable on all Missouri DWI/DUI laws. Our skilled DWI/DUI attorneys understand the charges that you are facing, and we will help to protect your legal rights. Our goal is to fight for reduced sentences and get you the best possible outcome for your specific case. At Hollingshead and Dudley, our personalized approach has helped many other Missouri drivers just like you. Call our office today for a free consultation and for any questions regarding your DWI/DUI case.