Interviewer: In regards to the criminal case, what are people actually being charged with? Is there more than one charge? How does that go?
Kevin Roach: Typically, you’ll see somebody pulled over, and if they’re charged with DWI, there’s also a companion ticket; they’ll get a ticket for speeding or for weaving. The first offense of DWI in Missouri is a Class B misdemeanor. It’s punishable up to six months in jail or up to a $1,000.00 fine.
Interviewer: Within the criminal DWI charge, I’ve heard that in some states you’re actually charged with two things. One is for driving where your ability is impaired and a separate charge for having a blood alcohol level above a 0.08.
Kevin Roach: No, in Missouri you’re just charged with one. It depends on where you’re pulled over. Some counties will charge it as a DWI – or driving while intoxicated – while other counties will charge it as a DUI – or driving under the influence. They don’t charge both; it’s one or the other. Essentially, the charges are the same; there’s really no difference between the two.
Interviewer: Does Missouri have laws that address people that have a blood alcohol level below 0.08?
Kevin Roach: If you are under the age of 21, they do have what’s called a zero tolerance for younger folks. They have punishments that are against their driver’s license if they have any amount of alcohol in their system and they’re underage.
If you are of age and you blow under 0.08, you’re not typically charged with anything.
Interviewer: What about a commercial driver? Do they have a different standard versus regular folks?
Kevin Roach: Yes. They’re really picky in Missouri about the CDLs. For instance, someone with a CDL who refuses a Breathalyzer does not have the same rights to contest a hearing in St. Louis County as a driver with a regular driver’s license.
Interviewer: Okay. Do CDL holders have a lower limit than 0.08, or is it the same as the 0.08?
Kevin Roach: No. With CDL, the limit is still 0.08.
Interviewer: How about when people go above 0.08? You mentioned that there are different classes of DUI, depending on how high your blood alcohol. What if someone is at a super drunk level?
Kevin Roach: In Missouri when anybody gets pulled over and charged with DWI or DUI, they have to attend a SATOP class, though, initially they’ll do a screening and the screening will determine which class you get. In Missouri there are four levels. Typically, a first-time offense would get Level I. However, if you’re a first offense and you have a high BAC, you can automatically be kicked into either the Level II or the Level III class. The Level II is the Weekend Intervention Program. Level III is the Clinical Intervention Program.
To answer your question about punishments, yes, there are different classes that you have to take in Missouri if you have what’s considered a high BAC.
Interviewer: A high BAC is above, what, 0.17? Or is it another level?
Kevin Roach: 0.17 is the cut-off as far as SATOP goes; 0.17 in Missouri is considered a high BAC. There’s supposed to be enhanced punishment, but as far as SATOP goes, 0.17 is automatically kicks you into the Weekend Intervention Program, which is Level II. A 0.20 BAC or higher will automatically put you into Level III, which is the Clinical Intervention program.
Kevin J. roach is a St. Louis DWI defense attorney who has defended thousands of DWI and DUI cases in the St. Louis Metro area. Call us today at (636) 519-0085 or (866) 519-0085 for your Free Consultation!