DWI offenses carry harsh penalties, which include fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspension. Getting a DWI is not a laughing matter and you want to avoid one at all costs. You can take steps to get out of the DWI before it happens. If you do end up getting a DWI, there are other steps you can take to try to get out of it. But know this: the best way always to get out of a DWI in Kansas City, Missouri, is never to get in one in the first place. Not driving if you have been drinking is the simplest solution. That said, read the remainder of this blog to find out ways to prevent getting into the situation, and if in the situation, how to get yourself out – if possible.
How do I prevent getting a DWI in Kansas City, Missouri?
If you are planning to go out one evening and will be drinking, you can take certain steps to avoid getting into a situation that could lead to a DWI.
PLAN YOUR RIDE HOME
Always have a plan to get home at the end of the night. This point may seem obvious, but you would be amazed how many people fail to consider in advance what they will do if they have been drinking and are too inebriated to drive. When you are going out to a bar or party, make sure someone is designated as the sober driver, or else plan to take a cab, use a service such as Uber or Lyft, or call a friend or family member. If you do not drive while intoxicated, you will never get a DWI.
Note of Caution: Do not plan on walking or taking public transportation if you are alone. National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration has found that roughly 25% of pedestrian fatal accidents are caused by pedestrians who have a BAC of .10 or greater.
PLAN YOUR DRINKS
The rule of thumb: 2 standard drinks is the limit. That’s the general idea, but your limit will depend on your weight, metabolic rate, gender and if you have eaten any food. A standard drink is usually:
- 12 ounce can of beer;
- 5 ounce glass of wine; or
- 1.25 ounce glass of whiskey.
Consuming 2 standard drinks during the first hour of drinking can increase your level of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to approximately 0.05%. If you want to try to drink and still drive with a BAC below the illegal limit, then you should try counting and timing your drinks. The first hour you can have approximately 2 standard drinks, and every hour after the first hour, you can only have 1 drink. The more you weigh, the more this rule will apply. Someone who is 120 pounds may want to drink less while someone who weighs more can drink a little more. In addition, women tend to absorb more alcohol faster; therefore, if you are a woman, you may want to drink less as well.
Remember that Missouri’s legal BAC level is 0.08% or less, unless you are:
- a minor, then the legal limit is 0.02%; or
- a commercial truck driver, then the legal limit is 0.04%.
PLAN FOR CHECKPOINTS
Sobriety checkpoints are legal in Missouri, but as of May 4, 2017, its funding has ceased. As a result, there will be no more sobriety checkpoints in Kansas City, Missouri, throughout the remainder of fiscal year 2017.
Funding may resume in fiscal year 2018, and if it does, then you should know that sobriety checkpoints are not random events. On the contrary, the time and place of checkpoints must be publicly announced. You can check the internet or the local paper for listings. Therefore, when/if the time comes and funding is restored, check local listings for checkpoints. Even if you plan both for a designated driver and the number of drinks you’ll have, you still want to avoid checkpoints if at all possible; a run-in with the police after any kind of drinking can get you arrested. Determine if the roadblock location is along your route, and if so, find an alternative route.
Remember, too, that checkpoints usually occur during or around holidays, which coincides with an increase in parties and an increase in alcohol-related car accidents. Not only do you want to avoid the checkpoints, you want to avoid a car accident.
How do I get out of a DWI if I’m pulled over by the police?
If you go out one evening and drink, and then you get behind the wheel only to have the police pull you over before you reach your destination, there are a few things you can do in an attempt to avoid a DWI. That said, if you have been drinking, the odds are against you. The following tips may not initially prevent you from being cited with a DWI, but they could help you get the case against you dismissed.
SMILE: YOU’RE ON CAMERA
In Missouri, all police cars are equipped with cameras and Kansas City officers have started wearing body cameras. Today, most DWI investigations and subsequent arrests are caught on camera. Use this knowledge for you, not against you.
To use cameras to your advantage:
- Be polite.
- Be nice.
- Acknowledge any injuries, physical conditions and/or medications.
Video from cameras will be used against you if you:
- Admit drinking alcohol or conducting any other illegal activity;
- Behave rudely, violently; and/or
- Try to escape.
Remember: What you say and how you act can and will be used against you in court, even if your Miranda Rights were not read to you.
JUST SAY NO… POLITELY
Missouri does not require that you perform field sobriety tests. Politely refuse to do them. Of course, refusing is not as easy as it sounds because police officers can be intimidating. You have a legitimate reason to refuse politely, however, if you:
- Have been injured (if there has been a car accident);
- Have a medical or physical condition; and/or
- Are on medication.
If none of the above applies, you can still refuse the sobriety test, but do so politely yet persistently. These tests are largely dependent on subjective examination of your performance, and police officers tend to have high expectations. At the same time, your fear and anxiety over having to do the sobriety test may make you perform less than perfect, giving the police officer reason to find test completion as unsatisfactory.
Note of Caution: if you refuse any test, the police officer will likely threaten you with arrest. If he already suspects that you were drinking and driving, he’s probably going to arrest you anyway. Try not to give him additional evidence for the prosecutor to use against you.
GET AN INDEPENDENT TEST
Missouri is an implied consent state, which means you implicitly agree to provide a chemical test upon suspicion of driving while intoxicated. If you are arrested for DWI in Kansas City, MO, you will be asked to either blow into a breathalyzer (most common) or provide a blood (less common) or urine sample (least common because they are the least reliable).
These tests are conducted by the police department, but things can go wrong via technical and human error. Missouri recognizes this fact, thus the passing of a law that allows DWI suspects to obtain a fair and independent test. Demand release to a sober driver so that you can go to the hospital and obtain an independent test; it may just be the thing to get you out of a DWI conviction.
Things to remember about chemical tests:
- Before submitting, request to speak to an attorney. It is your right, but you must ask; the police are under no obligation to advise you to do so.
- Before blowing into a breathalyzer, take 3 deep breaths first to clear your lungs. Do not hold your breath first or else you may cause alcohol to buildup in your lungs and produce an inaccurate reading.
- You can refuse a chemical test, but it has serious consequences. Make sure to speak to a DWI lawyer first.
Who can help me get out of a DWI in Kansas City, MO?
If you are in Kansas City and have been charged with a DWI, contact an experienced DWI attorney in Kansas City, MO immediately. Our DWI attorneys at Cornerstone law have the experience, resources, and skills required to guide you successfully through the process. We act aggressively to defend your rights. Contact us today for a consultation.