Charges related to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in St. Louis are either Driving While Intoxicated charges, DUI, or Blood Alcohol Content, BAC, charges. These charges can occur if the individual is behind the wheel of the vehicle while it has the keys in the ignition and is not moving or is moving but the motor is not running.
The various nuances of DUI and BAC charges in St. Louis are related to the weight of alcohol in the blood when the individual is stopped and in how many previous offenses and guilty pleas in regard to said offenses are on the individual’s record.
What Happens If I Am Driving While Intoxicated in Missouri?
Any individual who is found operating a motor vehicle and has a BAC of .08 or higher will be charged. These charges can lead to jail time in the county jail and a fine or time in prison for those who have a history of offenses related to DUI.
It is possible to be found Driving While Intoxicated when operating a boat, and that boat does not have to have an engine. For vehicles that have engines, golf carts, ATVs and automobiles can all lead to DUI charges for someone who drinks or takes illegal narcotics and is caught operating a motor vehicle.
The vehicle can be on a state highway or an interstate highway at the time of operation. It can also be on private property, a private driveway, a parking lot or a county or local road. Any of these scenarios are covered by the DWI statutes within the state of Missouri.
What Will My Sentence Be Like If This Is My Fourth Offense for DUI?
A fourth offense of DWI or BAC with previous guilty pleas or findings of guilt can lead to serious prison time. This is because an individual with four offenses is reaching “Aggravated Offender” status. The sentence can be one year in county jail or up to seven years in prison. The minimum jail time to be eligible for probation or parole is increased to 60 days and the option to complete a court-ordered DWI program is no longer available. The fine for this level of offense is a maximum of $5,000.
A fifth offense, particularly if it has a history of aggravated assault or other non-DWI felonies on the individual’s record, can lead to five to 15 years in prison and a mandatory two years in prison before probation becomes an option. In the case that the individual has four prior pleas of guilty or guilt findings in DUI cases or has one or two guilty pleas or findings of guilt related to non-DWI felonies, the status becomes “Chronic Offender.”
How Common is Driving While Intoxicated in the State of Missouri?
Some states have a prevalence of driving while intoxicated and in Missouri, numerous accidents and deaths can be connected to the process. According to the State of Missouri’s 2013 Highway Safety Plan & Performance Plan, the number of drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol during the 2009-2011 time period totaled 21,674. Of those, roughly 11.8% were under the age of 21.
In the state of Missouri during that time, the following statistics are also true:
- 2,485 people killed in automotive accidents. Drivers numbered 1,6577 of those deaths, while 526 were passengers in the vehicle. Of those 2,485 deaths, 30% or 755 were due to a situation involving alcohol and/or drugs.
- Accidents involving alcohol and/or drugs that caused disabling injury numbered 3,051 of the 18,279 accidents causing disabling injury in the 2009-2011 time period.
- ATV accidents accounted for 45 deaths, 38 of the driver and seven of the passenger on the ATV.
- 10 bicyclists were killed
- 203 pedestrians during that two-year time frame.
In rank of most crashes to least for that time frame, St. Louis was second with 141 deaths in the county. The city of St. Louis itself is second among the ranked cities in the state for deaths as well.
What Do I Do If I Am Facing DWI Charges in St. Louis?
Whether it is your first offense or your fourth offense, it is important to retain legal counsel as soon as possible after being charged with DUI or BAC. The process leading up to a court appearance needs to be handled carefully, and a number of deadlines need to be met. This is where having an experienced attorney on retainer is going to increase the likelihood of better results in court. They will handle paperwork submission and all issues related to the lead-up to court hearings. You can focus on any other consequences that may have occurred as a result of the arrest, charges and related time lost due to incarceration.
It is important to search for experienced lawyers and contact them to ask about fees, availability and all potential concerns you have regarding the case. The right firm will have experienced lawyers and a private detective they work with regularly who can handle any investigation and contact with potential witnesses. The lawyers will also provide a reliable time line of how the case might progress, what to expect depending on how many times you have faced DUI charges previously and the amount of time expected for incarceration depending on the current case.
Consult with a Missouri State DUI Attorney to Discuss Your Charges
Remember to be up front with your legal counsel from the start. If they are aware of previous offenses, they can better prepare your defense in recognition of that factor. If they aren’t aware you have previously been found guilty of DUI, they may expect your case to progress in a certain manner and be surprised in court. This is not an ideal situation for you or legal counsel. Instead, work with a reliable and experienced law firm and lawyers that can provide the defense you need based on past history with DUI charges.
Get in touch with the experienced lawyers at Hollingshead and Dudley today by calling 314-480-5474.