Missouri DUI Laws

Missouri DUI laws state that no driver over 21 can operate a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or higher.
Written by Michelle Ballestrasse
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Missouri
DUI laws
state that any driver over the age of 21 cannot have a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or higher. Commercial vehicle drivers cannot have a blood-alcohol level that exceeds 0.04%. Drivers under 21 cannot have a blood-alcohol level exceeding 0.02%.
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a dangerous crime and penalties vary by state. Even a first-time offense can cost drivers up to $10,000 in fines and legal fees—and it will most certainly impact your
Missouri car insurance costs
, too.
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What is a DUI/DWI?

A DUI refers to driving under the influence while a DWI means driving while intoxicated or impaired. Each state defines the two differently if both are used. Missouri primarily uses
the term DWI
.
With a DWI, the charge could mean that the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination.
Drugs, in this instance, do not specifically mean illegal substances and can include marijuana, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medicines. If taking these drugs impairs you in any way while driving, you may be charged with a DWI.
Some states use a different terminology altogether, favoring OUI (operating under the influence) or OWI (operating while intoxicated). Missouri does not typically use these.

DWI in Missouri

In Missouri, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of:
  • 0.08% or higher if you’re 21 or older
  • 0.04% if you’re driving a commercial vehicle
  • 0.02% if you’re under the age of 21
You do not necessarily have to be driving to be charged with a DWI, you can be charged as long as you’re in a position to regulate the vehicle’s movements.
Every state has an implied consent law stipulating that you consent to be tested if you’re suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If you’re lawfully arrested for a DWI, you must submit to a urine, blood, or breath test. You do not have a right to consult with a lawyer before completing the test.
Key Takeaway If you are pulled over for a suspected DWI, you are legally required to take a test.

Penalties for DWI in Missouri

Penalties for DWIs are severe in Missouri. The conviction will remain on your
Missouri driving record
and criminal record for 10 years. It cannot be expunged before then.

First conviction

Penalty
Description
Fine
Up to $1,000
Jail
Up to 6 months
License suspension
30 days, then 60 days restricted
Ignition interlock device required
Possible condition
SR-22 requirement
Yes
If your license is suspended, you may be eligible to apply for a restricted license if being unable to drive presents you with undue hardship.

Subsequent convictions

There are increased penalties for all subsequent DWI convictions.
Second conviction
Penalty
Description
Fine
Up to $2,000
Jail
Up to 1 year
License revocation
1 year
Ignition interlock device required
6 months minimum
SR-22 requirement
Yes
This is increased to five years if your previous conviction was within the last five years.
Third conviction
Penalty
Description
Fine
Up to $10,000
Jail
Up to 10 years
License revocation
10 years
Ignition interlock device required
6 months minimum
SR-22 requirement
Yes
Imposed jail sentences may be suspended by the court if certain conditions are met. This includes some days in jail, random testing, treatment for substance abuse, and continuous alcohol monitoring. Failing any of these requirements will result in the jail sentence being reinstated.
Key Takeaway Every state has minimum penalties for a DWI, which are often more severe if you’ve had previous offenses.
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Does a DWI impact car insurance in Missouri?

Yes, insurance companies take DWIs very seriously and you’ll be classified as a
high-risk driver
.
With a DWI on your record, you can reasonably expect that insurance carriers will charge you significantly higher rates or may refuse to insure you entirely. That’s where
Jerry
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Your insurance carrier will also be required to fill out an
SR-22
to prove you have the
minimum car insurance required in Missouri
.

Other effects of a DUI

Beyond the conviction penalties and higher insurance rates, DUIs can have some other lasting impacts on your life.
License revocation: After a DUI, you run the risk of
having your license revoked
if you’re charged with other serious offenses.
Ignition interlock device: All states have some type of ignition interlock program requiring drivers convicted of a DUI to install an interlock device in their vehicle to disable the engine if alcohol is detected on their breath.
Background checks: Your DUI will show up on a background check for up to five years after the conviction, which can cause issues for future employment endeavors.
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