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Steps to Take After Being Charged with a DUI in Missouri

Being charged with a DUI in Missouri is a complex and challenging situation. It’s a dual battle, involving both criminal and administrative penalties. Navigating this legal maze can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s crucial to act swiftly and seek the help of a seasoned DUI defense attorney. At Bruntrager & Billings, our dedicated team of lawyers, well-versed in Missouri DUI laws, are ready to guide you through every step of your case.

Avoiding a DUI

Before we jump in to discuss what to do after a DUI, it’s important to remember that DUIs are avoidable. Of course, the simplest way to avoid a drunk driving charge is to not drink. If you are going to drink, consider the following options:

 

  • Arrange transportation to and from your destination ahead of time
  • Use a ride sharing service like Uber or Lyft
  • Use public transportation
  • Call a taxi
  • Use a designated driver

 

Overview of the consequences of a DUI in Missouri

A DUI conviction can result in serious legal and collateral consequences. DUI penalties hinge on factors like your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), prior DUIs, and aggravating factors, encompassing:

  • Fines: Significant monetary penalties ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

  • License Suspension: Potential suspension, barring motor vehicle operation.

  • Jail Time: Mandatory sentences for repeat offenders or serious cases.

  • Ignition Interlock Device: Required BAC testing before vehicle ignition.

  • Insurance Cost Increase: Substantial premium hikes or policy cancellation.

  • Probation: Supervised probation with compliance conditions.

  • Alcohol Education or Treatment: Mandatory education or treatment programs.

 

Now, with the consequences clear, let’s address the steps post-DUI charge.

Remain Calm and Cooperative

The first step after being charged with a DUI is to remain calm and cooperative throughout the arrest process. It’s natural to feel stressed or anxious during this time, but staying composed is important. Losing your temper or acting aggressively towards law enforcement officers can escalate the situation and potentially result in additional charges.

 

Cooperating with law enforcement is essential. Follow their instructions, provide the necessary information, and avoid excessive resistance or argumentation. Remember that anything you say or do can be used against you in court, so it’s crucial to avoid self-incrimination. Refrain from making any statements about your guilt or innocence without the presence of your DUI attorney.

Seek Legal Representation

A skilled attorney specializing in DUI cases can provide invaluable guidance and advocacy throughout the legal process. They will assess the details of your case, build a strong defense strategy, and advocate for your rights. When choosing a DUI attorney, it’s essential to consider their experience, qualifications, and track record of success. Look for attorneys who specialize in DUI cases and have a deep understanding of Missouri DUI laws.

Document Everything

Keeping all your documents organized will help your DUI attorney analyze the evidence, spot any inconsistencies, and identify potential defenses. Having a thorough record of the incident can better protect your rights and ensure that your side of the story is properly presented during legal proceedings.

 

Take notes on the details of the arrest, including the time, location, and officer’s behavior. Make a note of any field sobriety tests conducted and your performance on those tests. Keep all related paperwork, such as the arrest report, citation, and any other documents provided by law enforcement.

Make Note of the the DMV Hearing

After a DUI arrest in Missouri, you will face two separate proceedings: the criminal court case and the administrative process through the Department of Revenue’s Driver License Bureau. The administrative process involves a hearing where your driving privileges may be at stake.

 

It’s important to request a hearing within 15 days of your arrest to contest the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. Failing to request a hearing will result in an automatic suspension of your license. At the DMV hearing, your DUI attorney can challenge the evidence and present arguments to protect your driving privileges. Possible outcomes include retaining your full driving privileges, receiving limited driving privileges, or facing a suspension. Your DUI attorney can guide you through this hearing and help you understand the potential outcomes.

Prepare for Court

As your DUI case progresses, you will need to prepare for the criminal court proceedings. This includes familiarizing yourself with the court process, attending pre-trial motions and discovery, and working with your DUI attorney to build a strong defense strategy.

 

During pre-trial motions, your attorney may challenge the admissibility of certain evidence or seek to have the charges dismissed or reduced. Discovery involves gathering evidence from the prosecution, including police reports, witness statements, and testing records. By working closely with your attorney and thoroughly preparing for court, you can improve your chances of achieving a favorable outcome.

Consider Plea Options

In some cases, accepting a plea bargain may be a viable option. A plea bargain involves pleading guilty to a lesser offense or accepting reduced penalties in exchange for a guilty plea. Your DUI attorney can help you assess the pros and cons of accepting a plea deal based on the specific circumstances of your case.

 

Additionally, Missouri offers alternative sentencing options, such as diversion programs, for first-time offenders. These programs allow individuals to have their charges dismissed upon successful completion of certain requirements, such as alcohol education or treatment programs. Your DUI attorney can assist you in exploring these options and determining if they are applicable to your case.

Call a Missouri DUI Lawyer at Bruntrager & Billings

Taking immediate action and seeking the assistance of a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney is crucial for protecting your rights and achieving a favorable outcome. 

 

At Bruntrager & Billings, we have a team of dedicated lawyers ready to guide you through every step of the process. Don’t wait, contact Bruntrager & Billings today at (314) 646-0066 to ensure your rights are protected and to build a strong defense strategy. Take the situation seriously and move forward responsibly with the support of experienced legal professionals.