Missouri Drunk Driving Laws, Penalties, and Consequences

Learn about the penalties—jail time, fines, and license suspsension—for a first, second, and third DWI conviction in Missouri.

Missouri’s DWI laws prohibit all motorists from operating or being in “actual physical control” of a motor vehicle:

  • with an excessive blood alcohol concentration (BAC), or
  • while in an intoxicated condition—being under the influence of any combination of alcohol or drugs.

Excessive blood concentration. Any BAC of at least .08% is considered excessive. The BAC threshold is reduced to .04% if the licensee is driving a commercial vehicle. And Missouri has underage DWI laws that prohibit motorists who are under 21 years old from driving with a BAC of .02% or more.

The amount of alcohol a person must drink to reach the legal limit depends on a number of individual factors. Take a look at our BAC calculator and BAC table for an estimate of where your BAC might be at after a certain number of drinks. But remember, these are just approximations that don’t take into account all the factors that can affect BAC.

Getting a DWI Without Actually Driving

In Missouri, a motorist can get a DWI even without actually driving. Operation of a vehicle is straightforward (driving), but “actual physical control” is broader. Missouri courts have said this includes simply being in a position to restrain or regulate a vehicle’s movements.

Missouri DWI Penalties

Missouri DWI penalties vary based on the circumstances of the case. But the range of allowable penalties depends, in large part, on how many prior convictions the offender has and the severity of the DWI. Here are what the potential sentences generally look like for a first, second, and third DWI.

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Jail

Up to 6 months

Up to 1 year

Up to 4 years

Fines

Up to $1,000

Up to $2,000

Up to $10,000

License Suspension

30 days, then 60-day restricted license

5-year revocation

10-year revocation

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

Possible as a condition of restricted license

6 months minimum

6 months minimum

The court can suspend the imposed jail sentence subject to certain probationary conditions. These conditions include a few mandatory days in jail, substance abuse treatment, continuous alcohol monitoring, and random testing. Failure to comply with probation requirements can result in the imposition of the previously suspended jail sentence.

A driver whose license is suspended due to a DWI conviction may be eligible for a restricted or hardship license.

Implied Consent and Refusing a Blood or Breath Test in Missouri

Missouri’s “implied consent” laws require all drivers lawfully arrested for a DWI to submit to a blood, breath test, urine, or saliva test. Motorists who refuse testing face a one-year revocation followed by a six-month IID requirement. This suspension is separate from a DWI conviction suspension and may be enforced in addition to any other driver’s license limitations.

Plea Bargaining in Missouri DWI Cases

The penalties and repercussions of a DWI can be daunting. However, unlike many other states, Missouri does not strictly prohibit dismissal or pleading down of a DWI charge. Talk to an experienced DWI attorney about the options in your case.

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