DWI Charges Can Lead To Felony Convictions

When it comes to a felony DWI in Missouri, all the issues of a misdemeanor case are still present, but the stakes are immensely higher. If anyone is injured or killed in an accident and the at-fault driver blows over .08, it is considered a felony DWI. In 2005 Missouri changed the law so that a person's third DWI offense in a lifetime constitutes a felony with a minimum sentence of:

  • 10-year Missouri driver's license revocation
  • Substantial fine
  • Possible prison sentence and no less than 10 days in jail

In addition, a felony charge requires extra procedures that are not required for a misdemeanor. For example, a preliminary hearing (or "probable cause" hearing) will be held in an associate circuit court division. This court handles preliminary matters in felony cases. During the preliminary hearing, the prosecution only has to bring in enough evidence to show that there is probable cause that a felony was committed and that it was you who committed it. If the judge finds that probable cause exists, you will be bound over for an arraignment (plead either guilty or not guilty) in circuit court.

Because of the high stakes in these cases, the question is not whether you should retain a lawyer, but rather, which one.

Felony DWI Attorney Serving all Mid-Missouri Counties

Because The Copeland Law Firm has more than a quarter-century of criminal trial experience, Mr. Copeland knows what the prosecution has to prove to get a DWI conviction and how to spot weaknesses in the prosecution's case.

Mr. Copeland may decide to file motions to suppress evidence based on unreasonable search and seizure so the judge can make a determination on the validity and admissibility of evidence. Above and beyond, Mr. Copeland will look into pretext stops, profiling and lack of probable cause. If these types of aggressive defenses are not viable, we have a professional relationship with many of the prosecuting attorneys and can effectively negotiate and work to mitigate the severity of your case.

To discuss any aspect of felony DWI/DUI defense with Mr. Copeland (a Columbia felony DWI attorney), call 573-397-5277 or e-mail the firm.