In Missouri, DUI (driving under the influence) is also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI). You will be charged with committing DWI if you operate a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. BAC is the measure of alcohol in your blood.
The Missouri DWI Process
If you are charged with a DWI, you should know the basics of the process. When you are pulled over by the police, the officer on site will look for signs that you are impaired by alcohol. These include slurred speech or an inability to focus. If an officer thinks you are intoxicated, the officer will likely ask you to submit to a field sobriety test. Examples of standard field sobriety tests include:
Following a light with your eyes while keeping your head and neck still
Standing on one foot
Walking in a straight line, stopping, and walking back
If you perform poorly on these tests, the officer may place you under arrest on suspicion of drinking and driving. Subsequently, you will be asked to submit to BAC testing. BAC testing can take the form of a blood test, chemical test, or breath test. If you refuse to submit to BAC test, you will have your driver’s license suspended immediately. If your BAC is .08 or higher, you will be charged with committing a DWI. If you are under 21, you will be charged if your BAC is .02 or higher.
After you have been charged, you will have an arraignment. An arraignment is when the criminal charges are read aloud in court. At this point, you may plead guilty or not guilty to the charges. Ideally, you will have had the opportunity to speak with a lawyer by this time to understand the consequences of your plea. If you plead guilty, the judge will sentence you. If you plead not guilty, a trial date will be set. At trial, you and your attorney can present evidence to convince a judge or jury you are not guilty of committing DWI.