First, don’t panic. While there are serious consequences for DUI or DWI charges, there are several options available to help you. One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself is find an attorney who understands the DUI and DWI laws in Missouri and will go to bat for you.
Driving Laws in Missouri
In Missouri, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above. If you are in a commercial vehicle, the blood alcohol concentration drops to .04 and if you are minor it drops to .02. When it comes to controlled substance, such as marijuana or cocaine, Missouri law states that it is illegal to drive with any amount in your blood.
Definition of DWI and DUI in Missouri
Driving While Intoxicated: As defined in Missouri Statue 577.010: A person commits the crime of “driving while intoxicated” if he/she operates a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated or drugged condition, including prescription drugs.
Driving with Excessive Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): As defined in Missouri Statue 577.012: A person commits the crime of “driving with excessive blood alcohol content” if such person operates a motor vehicle in this state with .08 of one percent or more by weight of alcohol in such person’s blood.
Field Sobriety Tests
Aside from blood alcohol tests, the most important evidence of impairment that police, prosecutors, judges, and juries rely on in driving while intoxicated cases are the results of the field sobriety tests. Most of these tests are difficult for most anyone to pass, whether sober or impaired. The key to successful defense against possible false accusations by police or prosecutors is to know and understand the tests before you decide to comply with the officer’s request and take them.
There are three types of field sobriety tests police officers use to determine if you should be cited for Driving While Intoxicated or Driving Under the Influence.
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Eye Test—The officer is checking for “nystagmus” which is an involuntary jerking of the eye that can only be caused by alcohol and a few drugs.
- Walk & Turn Test/Heel to Toe Test—The officer is checking for any physical impairment in a person’s balance and walking abilities that would have been caused by alcohol or drugs.
- One Leg Stand—This is another physical test officers use to determine if someone has been drinking or is under the influence of any substance.
There are many myths that people believe when it comes to field sobriety tests. Here are a few statements that many people believe to be true when it comes to DUI or DWI cases, but in fact, are false.
- I have to comply if an officer pulls me over and tells me to take field sobriety tests
- I will lose my license if I don’t take a breathalyzer test after being arrested
- If I blow under .08% BAC, I can’t be arrested or prosecuted
- If I’m in my driveway, I can’t get a DWI
The most important thing to consider if you are facing a drunk driving charge or a driving under the influence charge is to find a Springfield, Missouri lawyer who specializes in DUI/DWI cases. As an experienced criminal defense attorney, I have a deep understanding of how Missouri law works when it comes to drunk driving cases. I have posted several DUI and DWI articles on my blog for you to learn more about the laws in Missouri.