If you have been charged with the crime of Driving While Intoxicated or DWI (also known as driving under the influence or DUI) you are probably wondering what your options are. An important thing you should know is that the consequences drinking and driving can vary depending upon your prior record. First offense DWI charges are typically misdemeanors and if you have multiple drunk driving convictions you could be looking at a felony charge.
A DWI / DUI charge triggers two separate actions:
A DWI criminal charge
A criminal charge means that you have been accused of committing a crime and are facing some sort of punishment (i.e. fines, probation, jail time, etc.). You have the right to have a trial and the right to have a criminal attorney represent you. You do not, however, have the right to a DWI attorney experienced in Missouri DWI laws.
A DWI administrative action against your driver's license
An administrative action relates solely to penalties affecting your driver’s license. Since an administrative action does not involve jail time as a penalty, you do not have a right to an attorney (meaning you have to hire a DWI lawyer on your own).
If your blood alcohol content was over the legal limit (or you refused a breathalyzer test) the consequence is an automatic suspension or revocation of your driving privilege unless the suspension is fought and won. This is true even if the criminal charge was reduced to a lesser charge or otherwise disposed of.
If you have recently been charged with driving under the influence you could have as little as 15 days from the date of the Notice of Suspension or Revocation to request an administrative hearing. If you do not request a hearing within this time period, the administrative punishment of a suspension or revocation of your driver's license could become final. This is why it is important that you hire an experienced DWI lawyer as soon as possible.
A DWI / DUI conviction has serious consequences
Criminal DWI consequences
In Missouri, a criminal conviction for driving while intoxicated can result in punishment ranging from probation to up to 15 years in prison depending on the amount of prior DWI / DUI’s that you have. The harsh penalties of Missouri's DWI/ DUI laws are why you need an experienced DWI lawyer.
Administrative DWI consequences
Depending on the amount of prior DWI or DUI’s that you have, a DWI conviction in Missouri can result in as little as a 30-day driver's license suspension to as much as a 10-year driver's license denial. If you have a commercial driver's license there can also be serious penalties that could affect your ability to drive a commercial vehicle and you should contact a DUI attorney experienced in Driving While Intoxicated charges immediately.
There is some good news…
If you have been charged with a DWI / DUI, attorney Justin Summary can help. Justin Summary has represented hundreds of clients all over the St. Louis area who were in need of a good DWI lawyer and he has a thorough knowledge of DWI law and the complexities of DWI / DUI defense. There are hundreds of ways to fight a drunk driving charge but none will work to your advantage if you choose to hire some other DUI lawyer who is more interested in moving your case than winning it. Put some knowledge and experience in your corner and contact DWI Attorney Justin Summary today to find out about our flexible and affordable payment options and to receive your free consultation.