I Got A DUI – Now What?


What Happens During And After A DWI Arrest?

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a criminal offense, and if not handled properly, can have negative implications that follow you for life. This could include heavy fees, license suspension, community service, jail time, and/or permanent charges on your criminal record. In this blog, we’ll go over the details of a DWI, what happens during a DWI arrest, and more. To learn about Bandré, Hunt & Snider’s criminal law practice, visit our criminal law page.

What Is A DWI?

In the state of Missouri, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI for short) refers to the criminal arrest and administrative ticket for those who are driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. In Missouri, the legal limit for adults 21 and older is 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC). For those under the legal drinking age of 21, this includes all minors with a BAC of 0.02% or higher. This is part of Missouri’s zero tolerance law for minors in possession. Missouri law also allows an enhanced penalty, called an aggravated DWI, for those with a BAC of 0.15% or higher. 

What happens during a DWI arrest?

After completing the BAC test and determining that a driver is under the influence, the officer will arrest the driver at the scene for a DWI charge. The driver will be taken to the police station and processed until bail is supplied, if applicable. 

The arresting officer will send an Alcohol Influence Report form (AIR); Missouri Uniform Complaint and Summons (warrant), if applicable; Notice of Suspension/Revocation of Driving Privilege; temporary 15 day driving permit if license, if license is taken; and Missouri drivers license, if taken. 


Will I Go To Jail For A DWI?

In all states, a first-offense DWI is considered a misdemeanor, and can be punishable by up to six months in jail. Jail time can be increased under certain circumstances, like particularly high BAC. Many states also require a minimum jail time of at least a few days on a first-offense. Subsequent offenses typically result in longer jail time.

Criminal Penalty for First Time DWI Offense in Missouri

DWI criminal penalties vary based on the level of intoxication, previous offenses and circumstances of the arrest. For the first offense, a DWI is classified as a Class B misdemeanor. For those with a BAC of 0.15-0.2%, the minimum jail time is 48 hours. This increases to a 5 day minimum jail sentence if BAC is above 0.2%. The maximum criminal penalty for a first offense, regardless of BAC level, is up to 6 months in jail and up to a $500 fine.

Criminal Penalty for Repeated DWI Offenses in Missouri

On the second offense, 10 days must be served in jail if you have one prior conviction. On the second convicted offense, the minimum jail time increases to 30 days with some community service options available for early release. With three convicted offenses, minimum jail time doubles to 60 days. For those on their fourth convicted DWI offense, expect a 2 year jail sentence. 

When court-ordered alcohol treatments are available, those with a BAC of 0.15%+ must complete a special program to get a suspended sentence.

Administrative Penalty for First Time DWI Offense in Missouri

Those convicted with a DWI will automatically receive a suspension or revocation of their driving privileges. For the first convicted offense, a 90 days license suspension will be applied. Some drivers can request, if eligible, for restricted driving privilege with the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device. This device requires the driver to take a BAC test by blowing into the device before the car’s ignition can be started. Another available option for some cases is limited driving privileges after a 30 day license suspension. This option is not available for those with convictions from motor vehicle related felonies, driving under the influence of drugs, or leaving the scene of an accident. 

Administrative Penalty for Repeated DWI Offenses in Missouri

On the second convicted offense, you could receive a one year revocation of driving license. With 2 convictions in a 5 year period, this could result in a 5 year license denial. If you have 3 convictions in a 5 year period, you could receive a 10 year license denial. 

What can I expect from an administrative DWI hearing?

The defendant has 15 days from the time the Notice of Suspension/Revocation of Driving Privilege is issued to request an administrative hearing, if desired. This is scheduled with the Department of Revenue, either in person or via phone. The arresting officer is usually not subpoenaed for administrative hearings, as the information the officer has previously submitted, including the AIR form and warrant, is usually enough to serve as the arresting officer’s testimony. 

In an administrative hearing, license-suspension proceedings are held. They normally take place following a DUI arrest. Administrative suspensions are triggered by a DUI arrest—rather than a conviction in criminal court. These usually go into effect 30 days or so after the arrest.

In a DMV administrative hearing, you are responsible for providing your own case, unless you decide to hire a lawyer. Administrative hearings are different than the criminal trial. The cases have no bearing on each other, and the administrative hearing is specifically focused on whether or not the DMV will suspend your driver’s license. In order to be successful and retain your license, you’ll need to make a legal case against your license suspension – not just an emotional one. 

This is where a lawyer comes in.The criminal law attorneys at Bandré, Hunt & Snider are experts in DUI and DWI court proceedings, and will provide support and counsel regarding your options. When you choose Bandré, Hunt & Snider, you’re not only choosing experienced, qualified attorneys, you’re choosing professionals that are intensely familiar with the legislative fabric of mid-Missouri. 

What Happens If I Refuse A BAC Or Drug Test?

Missouri drivers operate under the implied consent law. This means that you must submit to an alcohol and/or drug test when requested by a law enforcement officer. If you refuse to submit to the test, your driving privilege is automatically revoked for one year. The arresting officer will submit your notice of refusal with the AIR form, and confiscate your licenses. A 15 day permit may be issued, if applicable. 

What can I expect from a criminal court hearing?

The defendant may file a petition for review in circuit court. If the court issues a stay order, the driver may continue driving on the stay order until the case is settled. If the court upholds the arrest, the defendant serves any remaining time for original revocation period. If the arrest is overturned, revocation is canceled and the drivers license is returned. Having a lawyer represent you can drastically reduce penalties and sentences in both administrative hearings and criminal court hearings. Making a case to overturn license suspension is not easy, and having a skilled lawyer present can make a huge difference. 

Get Criminal Defense With Attorneys at Bandré, Hunt & Snider 

At Bandré, Hunt & Snider , we’ve been representing clients in Jefferson City and the surrounding areas for nearly 20 years. Our criminal law attorneys have years of experience dealing with criminal cases in mid-Missouri. The criminal code is complex, and an attorney can help explain the charges and the potential consequences of a finding of guilt or full conviction. If you have criminal charges pressed against you, do not hesitate to reach out to the attorneys at Bandré, Hunt & Snider. Contact us here.