Drunk driving is never the answer.
And the State of Missouri makes sure of that by placing strict DUI laws.
But what exactly are these laws?
And what are the penalties if you break them?
Here, we’ll go over everything you need to know about Missouri DUI laws. This way, you will make sure to follow it to a T.
So shall we?
DUI Laws in Missouri
In Missouri, there are several DUI-related laws. These include:
- Illegal BAC levels
- Implied Consent law
- Drugs and driving
Let’s detail each one.
Illegal BAC Levels
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) refers to the amount of alcohol in your system.
Now, Missouri considers a driver legally drunk if their BAC level reaches 0.08%.
That’s usually after about 4 alcoholic drinks, and muscle coordination becomes challenging. Unfortunately, your vision, balance, and reaction time are affected — all these are crucial when you’re behind the wheel.
That said, even if your BAC level is less than 0.08%, you can still be charged with DUI if you show signs of impaired driving.
Another thing you should know. The BAC level for commercial and under-21 drivers is even lower.
- Commercial drivers – the illegal BAC level is 0.04%
- For under-21 drivers – the illegal BAC level is 0.02%
Implied Consent Law
You might be wondering, “how can they tell what my BAC level is?”
Well, if a law enforcement officer suspects you of DUI, they will pull you over and ask you to take a breath, urine, or blood test.
And, under the Implied Consent law, you have to take the test. It’s called ‘Implied Consent’ because anyone with a Missouri driver’s license technically agrees to undergo a chemical test if charged with a DUI.
Now, despite the law, it’s crucial to understand that you can refuse the test. However, doing so may result in a 1-year license suspension.
Drugs and Driving
Alcohol isn’t the only substance that impairs your driving — drugs can do that, too.
And when you are suspected of driving under the influence, any amount of drugs found in your system will bring a DUI charge.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t just mean illegal drugs.
Even if you take over-the-counter pills or prescribed medication and it affects your driving ability, it’s still very dangerous and will need to be punished.
So it’s always best to know if your medication will affect your alertness.
If not, then there’s no problem. If yes, then avoid driving when you take it.
DUI Penalties in Missouri
As you might expect, the penalties for DUI are very harsh.
In Missouri, you will face 2 types of penalties — administrative and court-convicted actions.
|Second||License suspension1-year license revocation (if within 5 years of the first offense)|
|Offense||Fine||Jail Time||Driving Privileges|
|First||Up to $500||Up to 6 months||90-day license suspension(You may apply for 60- or 90-day restricted driving privileges)|
|Second||Up to $1,000||Up to 1 year||1-year license revocation5-year license denial (if within 5 years of the first offense)|
|Third||Up to $5,000||Up to 4 years||10-year license denial|
|Fourth||Up to $5,000||Up to 7 years|
|Fifth||Between 7 to 15 years|
Effects of Alcohol and Drugs on Driving
Why is drunk or drugged driving so dangerous?
Why does the State of Missouri make sure the penalties are felt if you break the DUI laws?
Well, let’s look at some areas where driving under the influence impacts heavily:
- Judgment: You usually use knowledge and judgment when driving. Alcohol and drugs affect your ability to make those connections. In turn, you’re less likely to make rational choices when you’re not sober.
- Vision: Your ability to see clearly is one of the most important things when you’re behind the wheel. It helps you determine the distance between you and another vehicle, as well as allows you to spot hazards before you reach them.
Unfortunately, alcohol and drugs have physical effects, including blurred or double vision. They also affect your ability to focus on your surroundings.
What’s more, your vision is one of the first senses alcohol affects — when your BAC level hits 0.02%, you no longer have 20/20 vision.
- Color Distinction: You’re less likely to distinguish colors when intoxicated. It affects your ability to spot and recognize traffic signs and signals.
The lack of color distinction becomes more problematic at night. You’re more likely to miss pedestrians and vehicles that may be sharing the road with you.
- Reaction Time: Driving requires you to respond to your environment. A few seconds may spell the difference between colliding with the car in front of you that suddenly stops or swerving to avoid it. When you’re intoxicated, you process information slower. As a result, your responses are delayed, which makes accidents more likely to happen.
Now, let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions about DUI in Missouri.
Is your license suspended immediately after a DUI in Missouri?
If, after undergoing a chemical test, your BAC level comes out 0.08% or higher (or 0.04% and 0.02%), the arresting officer gives you a notice and takes your license.
The notice states that your license will be suspended for 15 days, which means you cannot legally drive. You will also find the following things on it:
- A 15-day driving permit (if the officer indicates it)
- An option to request restricted driving privileges (if available)
- The possibility of requesting a hearing (this automatically gives you an extra 15 days to drive until there is a decision)
How do I reinstate my license in Missouri?
If you lose your driving privileges, it is still possible to get your license reinstated. The requirements are as follows:
- Pay a $45 fee
- Complete a Substance Awareness Traffic Offender Program (SATOP) and obtain documentation proving it
- Have proof of insurance for two years by filing an SR-22
- Have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on any vehicle you use. The device must remain for at least six months after the reinstatement of your license.
Is a DUI in Missouri a felony?
In Missouri, a DUI is typically a misdemeanor. However, if you are a repeat offender or cause an accident resulting in severe injury or death, it will become a felony.
How long will a DUI stay on your record in Missouri?
A DUI conviction stays on your Missouri driving record for 10 years, which means any entity that requests a copy will see it. It may affect potential employment (if you plan to be a commercial driver) and auto insurance premiums.
How much does it cost to get a DUI expunged in Missouri?
Yes, you can get a DUI conviction expunged from your record. However, there is a 10-year wait time before you can file a petition. And, to file, you’ll have to spend $250.
How long does a DUI affect insurance in Missouri?
MoneyGeek, a personal finance website, puts the average cost of auto insurance in Missouri at $1,305 per year. That’s assuming you’re a safe driver.
A DUI on your record raises it to an average annual premium of $1,852. That’s a difference of more than $500.
Remember that these are only averages. Your rates may vary depending on your profile. Insurers consider other factors like your age, preferred coverage levels, and credit score.
The Wrap Up
The consequences of a DUI charge in Missouri can be expensive and long-lasting. Not only that, but it’s also very dangerous, which could cause severe injuries and even lives.
So you must ask yourself — is driving while under the influence worth it?
And now that you know everything you need to know about the Missouri DUI laws, make sure that you follow them for everyone’s safety.
Be a responsible and safe driver!