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New Missouri DWI Law Changes: Felony Offenses

Published on Feb 23, 2017 at 1:24 pm in Criminal Defense.
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Arrested and charged with a Missouri DWI in 2017? You should know that recent law changes may affect the outcome of your DWI case and how you are charged. We talked about 2017’s changes to the misdemeanor offenses already, but now it’s time to review a few different felony classes  (C, D, and E) that can be charged under the law.

Missouri DWI/DUI Offenses: Basic Facts Regarding The New DWI Law

C, D, and E Felony Offenses

  • For your third Missouri DWI, you will likely be charged with a new Felony class in Missouri, the “E felony”. You will be charged with an “E Felony” if you are considered a “persistent offender” or if you “act with criminal negligence to cause physical injury to someone”.
    • A persistent offender is someone who has been “found guilty of two or more intoxication-related offenses committed on separate occasions”  or a person who has been found guilty of “operating a vehicle while intoxicated and another person was injured or killed in violation of state law, county or municipal ordinance, any federal offense, or any military offense”.
    • Felonies stay on your criminal record and cannot generally be expunged (although this has changed with the recent criminal law revisions).
    • Additionally, you may receive up to four years of jail time for a Class E Felony, as well as community service, fines of up to $10,000.00, multiple years of license revocation, and/or other types of penalties.
  • Additionally, if you act with “criminal negligence to cause physical injury to another person,” then you can also be charged with an E Felony under the law.
    • Criminal negligence is defined under § 562.016.1 R.S.Mo. occurs when a person “fails to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that circumstances exist or a result will follow, and such failure constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care which a reasonable person would exercise in the situation.”
      • This definition is a lot to take in and consider. As with any charge, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney if you are alleged to have acted with criminal negligence.
  • For your fourth Missouri DWI, you will likely be charged with a Class D felony if you are an “aggravated offender”, or if, while driving while intoxicated, you “act with criminal negligence to cause physical injury to a law enforcement officer or emergency personnel.”
    • An “aggravated offender” is someone who has been found guilty of:
    • (a) Three or more intoxication-related traffic offenses committed on separate occasions; or
    • (b) Two or more intoxication-related traffic offenses committed on separate occasions where at least one of the intoxication-related traffic offenses is an offense committed in violation of any state law, county or municipal ordinance, any federal offense, or any military offense in which the defendant was operating a vehicle while intoxicated and another person was injured or killed.
    • If you are convicted of a D Felony, you can face up to seven years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.00, as well as a significant loss of driving privileges, and potentially enhanced penalties.
  • For your fifth Missouri DWI, you will likely be charged with a Class C Felony if you are aa “chronic offender”, or if while driving while intoxicated you act with criminal negligence to cause the death of another person.
    • A “chronic offender” is someone who has been found guilty of:
    • (a) Four or more intoxication-related traffic offenses committed on separate occasions; or
    • (b) Three or more intoxication-related traffic offenses committed on separate occasions where at least one of the intoxication-related traffic offenses is an offense committed in violation of any state law, county or municipal ordinance, any federal offense, or any military offense in which the defendant was operating a vehicle while intoxicated and another person was injured or killed; or
    • (c) Two or more intoxication-related traffic offenses committed on separate occasions where both intoxication-related traffic offenses were offenses committed in violation of any state law, county or municipal ordinance, any federal offense, or any military offense in which the defendant was operating a vehicle while intoxicated and another person was injured or killed;
    • If you are convicted of a C Felony, you can face between three to ten years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.00, as well as a significant loss of driving privileges, and potentially enhanced penalties.

It’s important to note that the above conditions may change given the circumstances of your particular DWI offense or any harm which was caused.  There are also numerous conditions that the Court, the Department of Revenue, and probation and parole can place upon you following any conviction mentioned above.  If the circumstances justify it, the State can also seek enhanced charges with a A or B felony, which are not discussed on this post.

A DWI Case Can Drastically Change with the Right Legal Help

If you are charged with any of the above offenses, it’s important that you seek legal help immediately.  There are numerous things to consider when facing significant charges like the ones mentioned above.  With the assistance of a Columbia DWI lawyer from Thomas Law Offices, jail time and a lengthy suspension can turn into consequences much less severe.

Even if your particular situation looks grim, don’t hesitate to contact someone who can help. The team at Thomas Law Offices will do whatever they can to fight for your rights and ensure you’re able to provide for your loved ones. Don’t let a DWI ruin your future. Give our office a call to learn more.

The following statutes were reviewed and referenced in compiling the above information:

577.00.1 R.S.Mo. (definitions);

577.010.1 R.S.Mo. (Sentencing restrictions/offense classifications);

558.011.1 R.S.Mo. (Sentencing guidelines);

558.002.1 (Fine guidelines)

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Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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