Some people have a single brush with the law, learn their lessons, and never repeat their mistakes. Other people will continue to make the same mistakes over and over again, possibly because they struggle with substance abuse or have untreated mental health issues.
The Missouri criminal justice system seeks to impose penalties that are harsh enough on first offenses to prevent people from making the same mistake twice while simultaneously being lenient enough to not ruin someone’s life over one mistake. The penalties you face for a criminal charge will increase every time you have another charge of the same type.
For those accused of driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses in Missouri, what will a second charge mean?
Missouri imposes several strict penalties on second DWI offenses
All of the possible penalties are harsher after a second DWI arrest. You could face up to a year in state custody, instead of the maximum of six months for a first-time offense. The fines you may have to pay could also double to as much as $2,000. The state will also revoke your license for a full year.
However, if your arrest occurs within five years of your first arrest, then you will potentially lose your driver’s license for five years. Finally, you will have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle for at least six months after you do regain your driving privileges.
Increasing penalties are a reason to avoid even a first conviction
When you understand the very serious criminal and driving penalties that you will have to deal with if you ever stand accused of a second DWI offense, you may have a stronger motivation to defend yourself.
In fact, the possibility of a second charge someday could be a very real reason to fight back against the first charges the state ever brings against you. After all, you won’t have to worry about the penalties for a second DWI offense if the state never successfully convicts you of a first offense.
Learning what to expect when facing DWI charges can help you respond in a way that will protect you now and in the future.