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What are the driver’s license penalties for a DWI charge?

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2022 | Drunk Driving

There is an aphorism that the punishment should fit the crime, and that is typically the goal when Missouri prosecutors bring charges against someone in criminal court. State law imposes different penalties for different criminal infractions, and the circumstances related to the charges will influence the sentence that the courts impose.

Those accused of driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses will face many of the same basic penalties as other criminal defendants. A DWI can lead to time in jail and large fines, although a judge often has the final say in the exact penalties.

The state will also likely suspend someone’s driver’s license after a DWI conviction. How long will someone potentially lose their driving privileges if they plead guilty to a drunk driving offense?

Missouri has harsh licensing rules

Someone’s first DWI can lead to them losing their license for up to 90 days. You will lose your license for far longer if you get convicted of a second DWI. Unlike many other states that limit the lookback period for DWI sentencing purposes, any prior offense will increase the license suspension period significantly.

A second DWI will lead to a year-long license suspension. If the second offense is within five years of the first, a driver will lose their license for as long as five years. A third DWI or similar offense will lead to the state denying you a license for 10 years.

Defending yourself protects your freedom and your job

The potential penalties if you plead guilty are a strong argument for fighting back in court. Losing your driver’s license could mean putting your career at risk. Not being able to perform certain job tasks or even arrive on time reliably can damage your reputation with your employer and potentially cost you your job.

Additionally, when you don’t have a driver’s license, you may depend on other people or public transit for all of your transportation needs. You may lose the freedom that comes from being able to buy groceries at 11:00 at night should the need arise. Although the penalties imposed are concerning, the impact of a criminal record is also a reason to consider fighting back against DWI charges.

Looking at different defense strategies can help those accused of a DWI offense avoid a criminal conviction and the penalties it carries.