When it comes to Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in the state of Missouri, the laws are the same in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and in every other city in the state – anyone who is caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher is considered to be driving impaired. The court system does not take Missouri DUI charges lightly and even first time offenders will face penalties that could derail their life for years to come. Additionally, the financial repercussions can be quiet steep.
What First Time DUI Offenders in Missouri Will Face
Every state will have a set of fines and penalties it will use as punishment for those who are convicted of DUI. Although the length of these penalties will vary between states, they will generally become harsher with the number of previous offenses. In the state of Missouri, first time offenders will be subject to the following fines and penalties:
- Up to 6 Months in Jail
- Fines of Up to $500
- A License Suspension of 30 Days
- Possibly Having to Use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
Missouri currently enforces a 5-year lookback period, which means if the individual has any previous convictions of DUI within the last 5 years, his or her current charge will be considered a second offense. Repeat offenders will face higher fines, longer jail sentences, and lengthier license suspensions. In Missouri, second offenders will face a fine of up to $1,000 and third time offenders will be charged with a fine of up to $5,000.
A DUI in Missouri Will Cost You Before Conviction
Many people believe the financial hardships they will face in relation to DUI will only occur after they are convicted. The truth is, you will begin paying for a DUI charge the minute you are arrested. After being pulled over and detained on suspicion of DUI, the individual’s vehicle will likely be towed and stored at the local impound lot, unless the officer allows someone to come get the car. When the individual is ready to get the car back, he or she will have to pay the towing and storage fees, which could cost anywhere between a few hundred dollars and a few thousand dollars.
Should the circumstances conclude with a stay in jail, they will likely have bail posted for them in order to be released. This often happens if there are aggravating circumstances surrounding the case, such as having a minor in the vehicle, causing an accident, or causing injury to another person. Bail for a DUI charge can range anywhere from $500 to $5,000 – often times, individuals will need a friend or family member to bail them out or they will opt to use the services of a bail bondsman in order to be released from jail.
Upon being formally charged with Driving Under the Influence, a court date is issued. At this time, it is best to seek the legal advice of a knowledgeable attorney. All attorneys and law firms will charge different amounts for their services, but individual’s should be prepared to pay anywhere between $1,500 and $10,000 for the services of a reputable lawyer who is well versed in Missouri DUI law.
A DUI in Missouri Will Cost You After Conviction
After the trial has concluded and the driver is found guilty, he or she will be responsible for paying the fines that were outlined earlier. Again, first time offenders of DUI in Missouri will be responsible for paying fines up to $500. While this is the financial penalty in Missouri, it is important to know the amount of the financial punishment will vary between states and will also generally increase for repeat offenders.
If found arrested and charged in a different state, keep in mind you will be held accountable under that state’s laws.
Changes in the Cost of Car Insurance in Missouri
While the financial penalties of DUI may seem like enough punishment, many individuals also forget that their car insurance rates will also be affected after they are convicted of drunk driving. Since this crime involves motor vehicles, it will be reported to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles and will be made public for the car insurance companies as well. Once the individual’s car insurance company is aware of the infraction, it will move to increase car insurance rates – this helps the company to cover the increased risk of making a claim due to risk of claim by the “risky” driver.
It is important to note each insurance provider will have a different means of calculating an individual’s rate increase for a DUI conviction, so the figures outlined here are simply the average rate increase that someone could see. Missouri is ranked as harsher than average when it comes to punishing those who have been convicted of drunk driving – on average, an individual will see an 82 percent increase in car insurance rates, which is about an additional $60 a month.
Avoiding the Financial Repercussions of DUI
Dealing with a DUI conviction can have a major impact on an individual’s personal, professional, and financial life. When all is said and done, it is possible for someone to end up paying upwards of $40,000 for an easily avoidable mistake – and this does not include the lost income experienced for not having a license or spending time in jail. The best way to avoid the financial repercussions of DUI is to not drink and drive. Always appoint a designated driver or use public transportation when drinking.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.