Stopped for a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Missouri?

4 Helpful Tips


It is common knowledge that Missouri has presumption that a driver is impaired if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) limit above 0.08. It can take as few as two drinks within in an hour to put an individual over the legal limit.  That isn’t much.

If you have been drinking and get pulled over keep these tips in mind.

Assert Your Rights

Everyone has the right to remain silent. At the same time an officer has the right to check a driver’s license and proof of insurance. Thus, you should have your license and insurance readily available.

Drivers also have the right to refuse to do field sobriety tests. Often, if a driver has had more than a few drinks over the course of a couple hours doing field sobriety tests might not be in the driver’s best interest. (Interesting Fact: Your BAC will usually spike about an hour after your last drink, then gradually decrease.)

In most situations where someone refuses to do field sobriety tests the individual will be arrested. It is also true, that very few people who are given all the standardized field sobriety tests are allowed to drive away. In other words, if an officer is having you do field sobriety tests they likely think you are impaired and are gathering evidence of impairment.

Be Polite

Officers are just trying to do their job. It is easy to become frustrated when getting investigated for driving while intoxicated. However, the officer is in control and being polite can go a long way. Being polite might prevent additional tickets and works towards the drivers benefit at sentencing. You should assert your rights, but do so in polite fashion.

If Arrested Ask For An Attorney

When a driver is arrested for driving while intoxicated they should request to speak to an attorney. Officers are required to give a driver twenty minutes in the state of Missouri to attempt to contact an attorney. An attorney can then give the driver advice on whether to submit to a blood alcohol test or to refuse. Every jurisdiction is different, make sure to contact an attorney that practices in the area that the arrest took place. Most people are in custody for around four hours, however people can be held longer.

They Might Try To Take Blood

Officers can request up to two chemical tests from an individual. This usually involves a breath test. In rare situations law enforcement officers might request a blood or urine test.

If an individual refuses to provide a sample of breath, blood or urine that is deemed a refusal in Missouri. Depending on where you get arrested in Missouri the officer might request a warrant for your blood. This process can take multiple hours.

If an individual refuses to provide a sample the officer will give you a piece a paper that says your license will be suspended for a year. This can be challenged, but you might lose your full driving privileges at some point in the future.

The most important tip is to contact an attorney that can provide you advice for your situation. No client is the same and many jurisdictions handle DWI’s differently.

If you received a DWI in the past look at getting it off your record. For more information click the link here.