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The Collateral Consequences of a 1st-Time DWI in Missouri

Many people fail to take a first-time charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI) as seriously as they should. This is often because a first DWI charge is generally a Class B misdemeanor, and defendants believe they will just get probation and move on with their lives. In reality, even a first DWI conviction can have lasting consequences that go far beyond court-ordered penalties. It is never a good idea to try to handle a DWI case on your own, as it can mean unnecessary convictions and consequences. Contact a St. Louis DWI defense attorney at Bruntrager & Billings, P.C. for help right away.

Long-term DWI Consequences

Upon a conviction for a first-time DWI, a judge can sentence you to probation or jail time, impose costly fines and court costs, and require you to participate in substance abuse education programs, among other penalties. You may also have your license suspended, as well as need an ignition interlock device on your vehicle in order to drive again.

While the above penalties can wreak havoc on your finances and reputation, you can also experience many collateral consequences that may continue for years. Some of these collateral consequences may include:

  • Loss of a job that requires driving or loss of a commercial driver’s license (CDL)
  • Difficulty finding new employment due to having a criminal record
  • Loss of college or graduate school acceptance or scholarships
  • The denial, suspension, or revocation of a professional license
  • The denial or revocation of a security clearance
  • Immigration consequences including possible removal proceedings
  • Discharge or denial of a promotion for military members
  • Sharply increased insurance premiums for years to come
  • Damage to your reputation in your family and your community

If you avoid jail time for your DWI conviction, you may believe you were lucky. However, you will soon begin experiencing the many long-term effects of DWI conviction that have nothing to do with jail. Instead, these consequences affect your finances, job, education, goals, relationships, and more.

Increased Penalties for Multiple Offenses

Another effect of a first-time DWI conviction is that you will face much more serious penalties if you are ever arrested again for DWI. A second DWI will escalate to a Class A misdemeanor, which means you can face up to a year in jail with mandatory time served. For a third offense, you can be charged with a felony, which can mean up to four years in prison. Having a felony on your criminal record can also increase the collateral consequences for that conviction.

It is important to realize you can fight against a first-time DWI charge – and it is worth it to do so. Often, you can avoid a conviction on your record and the many lasting effects a conviction can have on your life.

Learn How a St. Louis DWI Defense Lawyer Can Help You

At Bruntrager & Billings, P.C., our St. Louis criminal defense attorneys represent the rights of DWI defendants and design aggressive defense strategies for each client. Call 314-646-0066 or contact us online to discuss your charges today.

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