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Does a DWI conviction mean someone can no longer drive?

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2024 | DUI

Most traffic violations in Missouri only lead to citations. A police officer pulls someone over and writes them a ticket. That can be frustrating and expensive, especially if it is a more severe offense. The fine can be substantial, and the record of the citation could increase what someone pays for insurance.

Some traffic violations are so serious that Missouri prosecutes them as crimes rather than simply issuing a ticket. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses are among the most serious traffic violations commonly reported in Missouri. A conviction or guilty plea can lead to a variety of serious penalties, including a criminal record.

The courts can incarcerate someone, order probation supervision and impose large fines for a DWI offense. The penalties for a DWI conviction might also include the loss of driving privileges. How long could someone potentially go without a driver’s license after a DWI conviction in Missouri?

A driver’s record determines the penalties

Losing driving privileges is a standard penalty for a DWI offense. The duration of a license suspension depends on the circumstances of a DWI arrest. Someone facing accusations of a first-ever impaired driving offense faces the most lenient penalties, while those with prior offenses are at risk of increased consequences.

A first DWI conviction can lead to a 90-day license suspension. Some drivers may qualify for restricted driving privileges. A second DWI conviction within five years of the first could lead to someone losing their license for up to five years. A second DWI that occurs more than five years after the first could cost someone their driver’s license for a year. Third and subsequent DWI offenses tend to carry enhanced license penalties and often lead to felony charges.

Securing restricted driving privileges can be a better option than completely losing driving privileges in many cases. Drivers generally have to be proactive about regaining their licenses. The license suspension is an automatic process unless a defendant and their lawyer intentionally intervene in the process. Those hoping to preserve their driver’s licenses likely need to look for a way to defend against their DWI charges accordingly.