DWI is an acronym that applies to the operation of motor vehicles and a violation of driving laws. DWI stands for “Driving While Intoxicated” or “Driving While Impaired”. DUI, or “Driving Under The Influence”, is another acronym sometimes used for the same violation.
A DWI offense applies when a driver is stopped by law enforcement and found to have a blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit.
If you’re stopped by a police officer for driving while intoxicated (DWI), be polite to the officer. Cooperate with what he or she asks you to do, because it will be against your own interests to be uncooperative or rude. Anybody can find himself or herself in this situation, and your background (apart from any previous DWI offences) will have no relevance, but your behavior when stopped will definitely be relevant.
Breath and/or alcohol tests
The legal limit of alcohol differs according to what type of vehicle you’re driving and how old you are. The basic limit in all states is 0.08%. But if you’re younger than 21, it’s lower. If you drive a commercial truck, it’s 0.04%. Bus drivers have their own legal limit.
If you test at a level above the legal level for you, do cooperate and take any subsequent tests. Missouri has an “implied consent” law, meaning that when you obtained your driver’s license, you implicitly agreed to take a chemical test if you’re suspected of DWI.
If you refuse to take the Breathalyzer:
· This refusal in itself may be treated as a separate crime
· Your driving privilege can be suspended for a year
· You can be viewed as admitting your own guilt
If you have your own Missouri DWI lawyer, he or she could potentially file a petition for review of your license suspension in the Circuit Court, if you have hired him early enough. There’s a 30-day limit for doing this, counting from the day of your arrest.
Within 15 days
This is the time limit you have in Missouri for submitting a written request for a driver’s license hearing. If you fail to do this, you’ll lose your license for 30 days, and for 60 days your driving will be restricted to only driving to school or work.
To get your license back
You’ll have to do several things:
· Take the Substance Abuse Traffic Offenders Program (SATOP)
· Go to a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Panel
· Pay a reinstatement fee to the Missouri Driver’s License Bureau
· Obtain an evaluation of your record
· File a proof of financial responsibility, i.e., adequate automobile insurance, with the Driver’s License Bureau. You’ll have to maintain this for 2 years.
Call an experienced DWI attorney
Do this as soon as you can. Without your own Missouri DWI lawyer, you’re very likely to be lost in the foggy maze of Missouri’s drunk driving laws, which change every month or so. You need someone to watch out for time limits, speak for you when necessary, negotiate for you, complete and file all the paperwork correctly sand on time, and generally fight for you interests.
When you look for a lawyer to deal with your DUI/DWI dispute you should check on the following:
* Whether the lawyer or law firm has extensive experience in dealing with DUI/DWI cases
* How often has the lawyer or law firm gone to court or pled guilty to DUI/DWI
A DUI charge in Missouri can cause you to lose your driving privileges and have to pay higher insurance rates, and can often lead to jail time, loss of your job, and huge expense and inconvenience. It can even give you a criminal record.
Picking the right lawyer for your DUI/DWI case can make a big difference with regards to having to cope with the stresses and consequences of this charge or getting the charges dismissed.
Sara Goldstein is an expert author. For more information about DWI, try surfing this Missouri DWI website.
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