Have you been convicted of a DUI offense and are looking for a reliable lawyer to plead your case? If you live anywhere in the St. Charles, MO, area, as well as nearby cities such as St. Louis, look no further than the Byrnes Law Firm for your legal defense needs!
Unlike most other states, Missouri law uses the terms “DUI” (driving under the influence) and “DWI” (driving while intoxicated) interchangeably to refer to those who drive while under the effects of alcohol or drugs. Regardless of the substance in question, drunk driving is a serious criminal offense and consequences are divided into a criminal and an administrative aspect in the state of Missouri.
Criminal Consequences of a Drunk Driving Conviction
Criminal consequences, determined by a judge upon your arrest, can range from monetary penalties or community service to probation or even jail time. You might also be subjected to alcohol classes, an ignition interlock device, and/or a SCRAM bracelet (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring). The extent of the charges will be determined based on your driving record and previous similar charges, if any.
Administrative consequences, handled by the Missouri Department of Revenue, include an automatic loss of license, significantly higher insurance premiums, a SATOP (Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program) to have your license restored, as well as a restoration fee. Whether or not your license is restored is also based on the previously mentioned conditions.
What We Can Do For Your DUI or DWI Charge
As your highly trained and experienced attorney, we are prepared to help you with all the necessary legal proceedings. We believe that you are innocent until proven guilty, and we guarantee to treat you as such. Your St. Charles, MO, lawyer, Bill Byrnes is prepared to take immediate action to prepare your defense, starting with a FREE initial consultation. For more information, contact our law office by phone or through our online contact form.
DWI Lawyer Bill Byrnes is an Attorney Member of The National Advocacy for DUI Defense (NAFDD).
What sets Bill apart from other lawyers is his understanding of the details of DWI law which include:
- Unlawful stop and/or illegal search and seizure
- Unlawful detention
- Flaws in field sobriety testing
- Invalid breath tests
- Interfering substance
- Implied consent
- Absorption rates of alcohol
- Administrative hearings
- Ignition Interlock devices
Great Experience at Byrnes Law Firm, they kept me very informed and up to date on my case. I would recommend them to anyone facing a DWI or criminal charge.
Should you blow? The Answer is NO!
“Being at the top of his field, Bill is often asked, “Should I take the breath test?”
In general, he does not often recommend his clients take a breathalyzer test unless they feel confident they are under the legal limit. (The legal limit for drunk driving in Missouri is .08.)
The best way state this to an officer is to respectfully explain you will not take the test without an attorney present. They will treat your comment as a refusal and so will the County and Municipal Courts. However, I do advise that you always tell the police that you will take the test in the presence of your attorney. You should then contact Byrnes Law Firm immediately.
Additionally, you should not take the field sobriety test. These tests are designed for you to fail.
Missouri DUI/DWI Arrest Report
A Missouri DUI arrest reports can be broke down into four parts. Three of these items are under your control. The four parts of the Police Report for Drinking and Driving arrests are:
- Officer’s personal observations
- Standard Field Sobriety Tests
- Your answers to the officer’s questions
- Breathalyzer Test
You cannot control the officer’s personal observations of you. For example, he/she will comment on the condition of your eyes, the smell of your breath, and if you are swaying or slurring. This is the officer’s personal opinion, and nothing more.
The other three parts of the police report are within your control. You have the right to refuse to do Standard Field Sobriety Tests. These tests are designed for you to fail them. Therefore, I recommend you do not take them.
You are not required to answer the officer’s questions as to whether or not you have been drinking, what you have done that night or where you were going.
Finally, you are not required to blow, however, should you refuse the officer will inform you that you will lose your license. This is called the implied consent. What the officers won’t tell you is that for first time offenders, many times the prosecutor will work out a deal with your attorney so that you can keep your license. This is especially important if you have a CDL license.
A DWI Case Details
A DWI case has two parts to it:
- The criminal portion which you go to court for; and
- The civil portion which determines whether or not you will lose your driver’s license and driving privileges.
Drunk driving is a criminal charge in Missouri. Many other states commonly refer to this charge as a DUI. I have noticed clients use DWI when referring to an alcohol charge and DUI referring to driving under the influence of drugs. Most every charge I see is listed as “DWI” and when drugs are involved read “DWI-Drugs.”
Consequences of a Missouri DWI are broke out into two parts, a criminal portion and an administrative portion. The criminal consequences of a DWI include the possibility of jail time, probation, alcohol classes, ignition interlock device, SCRAM bracelet, AA, community service and fines. These consequences are determined by a judge. The administrative consequences include loss of license, increased insurance premiums due to a required SR22, SATOP class in order to get reinstated and a reinstatement fee. The administrative consequences are handled by the Missouri Department of Revenue by either a petition for review or administrative hearing.
There is no difference in the criminal punishment for driving under the influence of alcohol versus the influence of drugs. However, there are some differences in the administrative consequences. There are also much stricter penalties for second and subsequent Missouri DWIs. Missouri DWI Laws have changed but most people don’t realize it. It used to be that a second DWI would be handled as a first time DWI if the occurrences happened more than ten years apart. Now it is over the course of your lifetime.
First Time DWI / DUI Offenses are class B misdemeanors, punishable by up to 6 months in the county jail and up to a $500 fine. However, many times with a Lawyer, on a first time offense you can get the charges dismissed or probation without any jail time.
Second time DWIs are generally class A misdemeanors, which are punishable by up to one year in the county jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
Third time DWIs are generally classified as class D felonies, punishable by up to four years in the Missouri Department of corrections and up to a $5,000 fine.
I, Bill Byrnes, am a St. Charles Criminal Defense Attorney and handled DWI cases throughout the state of Missouri. Guaranteed. You will have questions. My law office is Byrnes Law Firm, LLC. I can be reached to answer your questions FREE 24/7 at 636-896-4300. My initial consultation is also FREE.
The information contained here is a highlight of the circumstances that can arise. This site is not intending to provide legal advice and is not able to provide legal advice.
Bill Byrnes of the St. Charles Law Firm, Byrnes Law Firm LLC, handles drunk driving cases across St. Louis Area and the municipalities St. Charles, Missouri. Majority of DUI & DWI cases are charged in Florissant, Bridgeton, Maryland Heights, Chesterfield, St. Peters, Wentzville, O’Fallon, and Cottleville.