Did you get a DWI on the July 4th weekend?

Now that we are done with the 4th of July festivities it’s time to review one of the not-so-fun parts of our countries’ birthday.  We can all agree that the 4th of July is one of the best holidays of the year; the sun is shining, we get to celebrate how awesome it is to be American with our friends and family, and of course, we indulge in food, fireworks, and in most cases, booze. 

If you’re careful, you can make it to Monday with your dignity and criminal record intact, but if the cops catch you, you will finish your weekend charged with DWI (driving while intoxicated). If you’re part of this latter group, here’s what a DWI charge means for you in Missouri and what you should do next. 

What are the DWI Laws in Missouri?

In Missouri, if your BAC (blood alcohol concentration percentage) is 0.08% or more, you will be charged with a DWI – you do not need to show any other signs of intoxication, and if your BAC is over 0.15% there is a chance you will receive an enhanced penalty. If you are under the legal drinking age your BAC can be no higher than 0.02%, or you will be charged with DWI. 

The maximum penalties for DWIs in Missouri are as follows: 

1st Offense: Class B Misdemeanor – 6 months jail time, your license will be suspended for 30-60 days, and a maximum of a $1,000 fine. 

2nd Offense: Class A Misdemeanor – 12 months jail time, your license may be revoked for up to 5 years, up to a $2,000 fine. Your vehicle may also be fitted with an IID (ignition interlock device) for six months or more. 

3rd Offense or more: Class D Felony – 4 years in jail, a 10-year license revocation, a maximum of a $10,000 fine, and your vehicle may be fitted with an IID for six months or more. 

Consequences of drug intoxication are the same as alcohol.

It goes without saying that jail time or revocation of your driving license can have severe implications for your freedom, your family, and your career. A DWI charge can spell disaster for your career, and if driving is a required part of your job you may find yourself without a job to return to. If you’re concerned, speak to a St. Louis DWI attorney as soon as possible. 

Can I Refuse to Give Consent to an Intoxication Test?

If you refuse to give your consent to submit to an intoxication test, you are automatically found guilty of a class A misdemeanor, the officer has probable cause to assume you are indeed intoxicated, and refusal results in automatic suspension of your license for 12 months. 

How Long Does a DWI Stay on Your Record in Missouri?

A DWI stays on your driving record for 10 years for a first offense. If this is your second DWI, it stays on your record forever. You must also petition the court to have your first offense removed from your record, otherwise it will stay there. 

Missouri DWI School

Before your license is reinstated you must attend a Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program and pay for a mandatory alcohol treatment evaluation. If you are a first offender and your BAC is high, you may have to attend a weekend intervention program. 

DWI Statistics 

You may not be surprised to learn that DWI charges are more prevalent during the 4th of July weekend, as are deaths due to DWI, but you may be surprised to learn just how much more prevalent. The period of time included is from 6pm the day before to 11.59pm on Sunday night. 

On average, 47% of drivers killed during the 4th of July weekend are caused by DWI. 

In 2017, 40% of all traffic deaths were alcohol-related, and in that year there were 10,874 alcohol-related deaths on the road, which works out at one every 48 minutes. 610 of these fatalities were caused over the 4th of July period, of which 39% (237) fatalities occurred in alcohol-related crashes. This is a 23% increase from 2016, during which 192 people were killed. 

In 2019, the Missouri State Highway Patrol reported 12 on the road fatalities and no boating fatalities. Troopers attended 376 crashes, including 139 injuries and 9 of the 12 fatalities. Troopers made 160 DWI arrests and 110 drug arrests. 

Missouri Troopers also attended 11 boating crashes, with just 5 of those causing injury. They made 12 BWI arrests and 28 drug arrests.

In 2018, Missouri Troopers attended 437 crashes, which resulted in 4 fatalities and 220 injured. They made 40 DWI arrests. So, though there were fewer crashes this year, 2019 has been 3 times as deadly and there have been 4 times as many DWI arrests. 

Clearly, DWI arrests are on the rise and are more prevalent than they have ever been before. This is likely due to a step-up in efforts by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, rather than an increase in people choosing to drink and drive. 

I Got a DWI This 4 July, What Should I Do?

If you were one of the 160 DWI arrests in Missouri this year, you need to act fast to minimize the impact this DWI has on your life. After you are charged there will be an arraignment, which is where your DWI charges are read aloud in court. You should have an opportunity to speak with a DWI lawyer before this, and you should absolutely do so, as you will have to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges and the wrong decision may have serious implications on your life. 

If you’ve been charged for DWI, whether it be your first offense or your third, it’s vital you seek the right representation quickly. We have experienced DWI lawyers in the St. Louis Metro area, we offer a free consultation, and we’ll aggressively fight your charge the moment you need us to. 

Our clients benefit from 24/7 access to us, and we’ll support you with absolutely no judgment. If you fear for your future, call us at (314) 900-HELP or contact us today to minimize the effect this DWI charge has on your life and your family.