No matter where you live in the U.S., it is a crime to operate a vehicle while impaired by the effects of alcohol or drugs. The offense goes by a variety of different names. It may be called driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), operating a motor vehicle intoxicated (OMVI), or operating under the influence (OUI). No matter what you call the offense, if you are pulled over by the police and asked to take a sobriety test, you run the risk of getting a DUI charge in Kansas City, Missouri.
According to the law, it is unlawful for a person to operate a car, truck, motorcycle, or commercial vehicle if:
- The driver cannot safely operate the vehicle because they are impaired by alcohol, illegal drugs, prescribed meds, or over-the-counter meds like antihistamines
- The driver is intoxicated above the Missouri blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) test standards.
Is a Breath or Blood Test Mandatory for Missouri Drivers?
Having a Missouri driver’s license automatically provides your consent to law enforcement to test for suspected intoxication. Missouri’s “implied consent” law says if an officer arrests you for driving intoxicated, then you consent to taking a blood alcohol test. This test could be a blood, breath, or urine test. The arresting officer gets to choose which test you take.
You can refuse to take the test, but refusal to take the mandatory blood, breath, or urine test will result in a suspended license for a year and the court can use your refusal against you. You will be required to complete and pay for a substance abuse traffic offender program. After you complete the course, you must show proof of completion to get your license back after the year is up. A second offense would be one-year license revocation and an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for six months.
Refusing a sobriety test does not guarantee you will not be convicted. Even if the state does not have proof that your BAC was over 0.08%, the court can still find you guilty.
If you are involved in an accident that causes death or serious injury, an officer can even request a search warrant to order a test without asking you.
For this reason, if you are pulled over and concerned about a possible DUI charge, you should take the sobriety test, but also reach out to a DWI attorney who could help you reduce or eliminate any potential charges.
Penalties for a DWI in Missouri
In the state of Missouri, the penalties for DWI and DUI are substantial and could include anything from jail time, fines, and license suspension to alcohol treatment programs. Both the court and the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) are the ones who decide whether certain penalties are appropriate for an intoxicated driver.
Missouri defines a DWI or DUI as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of:
- 0.08% or more in a motor vehicle
- 0.04% or more in a commercial vehicle
- 0.02% or more if you are a minor
Depending on your circumstances, your arresting officer or judge may charge you with a DWI even if your BAC is less than the noted limits.
Can You Expunge a DUI Charge from Your Record in Kansas City, Missouri?
First-time offenders convicted of a DUI charge in Missouri can expunge that DUI after it has been on their records for at least ten years. The new Missouri DUI laws that went into effect in January of 2017 include intoxication-related boating offenses as being eligible for expungement.
Under the law, an expungement is only available to eligible persons once in a lifetime. This eliminates repeat offenders from applying for this relief. Commercial CDL operators cannot have alcohol or intoxication-related offenses removed from their records.
Since Kansas City drunk driving offenses are recorded by the DOR as well as the courts, you will need to request that both records are sealed (or made private to restricted parties) in order for the expungement to be effective. .
Consult with a Kansas City DWI Attorney About Your DUI Charge
If you are charged with a DWI/DUI in Kansas City, our team offers a unique skill set and is committed to providing outstanding results, personalized attention, and uncompromising integrity. We are always available to discuss your situation in a free consultation. Please contact the Cornerstone Law Firm at 816-581-4040 or by filling out our contact form.