So You Were Arrested for Drunk Driving — What Now?

In Missouri, a charge of drunk driving while intoxicated charge considers a variety of factors, mostly examining whether this is a first-time or whether the driving record has previous charges. 

Driving While Intoxicated

First, not everyone understands the difference between a Driving Under the Influence (“DUI”) charge from a Driving While Intoxicated (“DWI”) charge. Fortunately, in Missouri, there is no difference. This might be surprising considering the fact that the media and other states distinguish the two crimes from one another. However, in Missouri, no difference exists between the two crimes.

In fact, Missouri law indicates its preferred term is a DWI charge, meaning “Driving While Intoxicated.” Missouri charges drivers operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. Missouri also automatically charges underage drinkers with a DWI to drivers under the age of 21 operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.02 or higher.

Alcohol Influence Report form

The ticket by the arresting officer includes an Alcohol Influence Report form (“AIR form”), a Missouri Uniform Complaint, the Summons or warrant, a Notice of Suspension or Revocation of Driving Privilege (Form 2385) and your Missouri driver license and notification of the Missouri Implied Consent. Revocation of the driver’s license can occur once the 15-day driving permit (issued with the rest of the tickets and forms) expires.

The 2 key sections of the Missouri DWI law

Two separate sections of the Missouri DWI law govern the arrest and subsequent court proceedings. Essentially a DWI can be two separate cases for one large mistake. First, Missouri imposes criminal charges of driving while intoxicated.

Second, the Missouri Department of Revenue imposes processes civil charges against the driver’s license. Civil charges can apply either when the driver refuses to participate in blood alcohol content tests or when the driver’s blood alcohol content exceeds the legal limit. In both cases, without legal assistance, a driver faces automatic license suspension or revocation. 

Ask for legal advice during your 15-day grace period

If the blood alcohol content test indicates a level over .08 for a first time DWI arrest, the driver’s license will be automatically suspended for 90 days. During this time, a 15-day grace period exists before all driving must stop, beginning on the day of the initial arrest.

However, depending on the driver’s driving record for the past 5 years, penalties might be higher. For example, those with previous drunk driving charges might face more serious penalties. During this 15-day grace period, the driving suspension can be contested or paperwork can be filed for a Restricted Driving Privilege (“RDP”), which is permission from the court to drive to certain locations.

In other words, during this 15-day grace period, consult with a lawyer who can file for an administrative review, contest the suspension, or file for an RDP. However, because the time starts running from the moment the officer issues the Notice of Suspension or Revocation of Driving Privilege Form 2385, it is important to quickly consult with a lawyer during this 15-day grace period.


Even though the impulse may be to wallow and not deal with it, the two weeks following the charge are imperative to asking for and receiving legal advice on how best to proceed. If you avoid legal advice, penalties can include serving time in jail, having a driver’s license suspended or revoked and incurring large legal fines. Do not wait, ask for help.

Call us at (417) 865-2181 for more information from Dean Price Law or to schedule a consultation in our office in Springfield.

NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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