Felony DWI – Driving While Intoxicated

The consequences for pleading guilty or being found guilty of committing a felony DWI are life altering. A felony DWI can result in a lengthy prison sentence and/or a suspension of your driver’s license.

There are two common scenarios that result in a driver being charged with a felony DWI. The first involves a driver pleading guilty to or being convicted of three or more intoxicated related offenses. The second occurs when an intoxicated driver is involved in a motor vehicle accident and as a result of the accident someone is injured.

Missouri has a “three strikes law” when it comes to Driving While Intoxicated or Driving Under the Influence. This law allows a harsher penalty to be imposed for repeat offenders. For example, a third DWI offense is a felony. It is important to understand that any prior plea of guilty (even to an SIS probation) or finding of guilt by a judge or jury to a DWI/DUI or even to the reduced charge of BAC, all account towards the third offense being a felony. Offenses in other states, in the federal system or even on military bases all count.

In addition to a potential prison sentence, a conviction for a felony DWI carries with it a revocation of your driving privileges for a mandatory 10 years. After the expiration of the 10 years the return of your driving privileges is not automatic. A petition must be filed and a hearing must take place in front of a Circuit Court Judge who makes a determination on whether or not to return the driving privilege.

 

In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecuting attorney must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant was driving an automobile in an intoxicated or drugged condition. It is important to keep in mind that a conviction requires proof of intoxication and proof the defendant was driving. If one of the two requirements is not proven, the prosecutor will not be able to convict you of driving while intoxicated.

If you are arrested for driving while intoxicated it is extremely important to contact a lawyer immediately. The police start building their case in support of a conviction the moment they pull you over and it is important that a lawyer starts working on your defense as soon as possible. The details surrounding your arrest will be fresh in your mind shortly after your arrest. As time goes by, it is natural for you to forget the specifics surrounding your arrest. Since a number of cases are won or lost based upon specific facts surrounding your arrest it is extremely beneficial for your attorney to begin working on your defense immediately.

Missouri law limits the amount of time you have to challenge the loss of your driver’s license. In some cases you must file your challenge within 15 days of your arrest. If a proper challenge is not filed within the appropriate timeframe your license will be suspended or revoked without regard to whether the arresting officer followed the proper procedures during your arrest.
It is critically important for an individual charged with a felony DWI to retain the services of an attorney who has experience and familiarity with the requirements for admission and a working relationship with the prosecutors and judges who make the decisions for entry into these programs. Call or email Scott Simpson to discuss your case.  scott@knightsimpson.com;  (636) 947-7412