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Getting a DWI in Missouri is a serious issue

You may think nothing of getting behind the wheel after a few drinks. You know you are safe to drive, but then you're stopped by law enforcement. Maybe you swerved while driving, or perhaps there is a roadblock enforcement effort underway to reduce impaired driving in the area. Suddenly, you're spending a night in jail instead of your own bed and facing a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge.

Even a first offense can cause serious legal issues for you that can spill over into your personal and professional life. You could lose your job or a college scholarship if you're convicted or plead guilty.

In some cases, you weren't actually under the influence when you were charged. Maybe there was an issue with the breath test's administration. Perhaps you had diabetes but weren't yet diagnosed. That could create both slurred speech and poor coordination. It can also result in acetone in your breath, which could cause you fail a breath test. Whatever the circumstances of your DWI charge, you want to speak with an experienced Missouri criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you develop a defense to mitigate the potential fallout from your DWI charges.

DWI charges carry serious penalties in Missouri

The state of Missouri considers driving under the influence to be a serious offense. Even first time offenders can face harsh penalties. Once charged with a DWI offense, you're facing a class B misdemeanor that carries up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $500, loss of your license for 30 days and mandatory attendance at an alcohol safety/DWI school. Second offenses are even more serious. The state considers a second DWI to be a class A misdemeanor. The penalties include between five days and a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, loss of your license for a full year and mandatory courses.

Third and future offenses can result in getting classified as a persistent offender. You'll be facing a class D felony charge, which carries at least 10 days in jail but as long as four years, a fine of up to $5,000, alcohol offender education and 60 days of community service. Because of how steep these penalties are, it is in your best interests to speak with an attorney as soon as you have been arrested or charged. Pleading guilty could cause a lot of issues, such as problems getting a job or housing in the future.

Working with an attorney gives you options

When you're facing a DWI, you want to explore all your legal options. Working with an experienced Missouri criminal defense attorney is the best way to determine what you can do to reduce the impact of these charges on your life. An attorney can help you fight the charges and may be able to advise you in ways to mitigate potential damage.

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