First-time DWI defendants many times have the opportunity to avoid a conviction on their record in St. Charles. But the matter remains serious and defendants cannot let deadlines pass.
First, understand the character of St. Charles why it's important to not avoid the problem. St. Charles Prosecutors take DWI very seriously. They have a lot of experience in prosecuting this particular charge. St. Charles is uniquely situated in Missouri regarding DWI. It's a suburban county with a big population - more than 300,000 residents. Its low-density built environment makes mass transit and effective cab service nearly a nil option. Real transportation choices are limited almost exclusively to one's own vehicle. Thus, a St. Charles DWI lawyer typically has a host of clients at any given time who are facing DWI charges.
Typically, prosecuting attorneys agree to an arrangement that suspends imposing any sentence on the defendant. In consideration of that, the prosecutor likely will require a 2-year probationary period. That will allow the state to keep tabs on an offender. If the DWI defendant walks down the 2 years without any violations, then the charge can never become a conviction.
However, if a driver gets charged and convicted of a second DWI within the probation period, both charges become convictions. Two DWIs within 5 years can result in a 5-year denial of driving privileges. A third DWI lifetime in Missouri can result in a 10-year denial. And at some point, drivers can forfeit their privilege to drive. Any St. Charles DWI lawyer has seen any and all of these situations.
The calculus for determining if certain charges count for longer suspensions can be complex. For instance, a driver could have no DWI convictions because the state declined to prosecute. However, if that driver refused each time upon being arrested upon suspicion of DWI, that driver still could receive a 10-year denial.
The criminal penalties also increase each time a driver takes a DWI conviction. In years past, DWI was considered a glorified traffic ticket. Now it is a serious criminal court matter. A St. Charles DWI lawyer knows that as a matter of practice. Prior offenders and persistent offenders penalties never get anything but more stiff as such offenders take more convictions.
For more information on what to do in the case of a DWI, a refusal, or other DWI issues, please review other Show Me the Law blogs. Or because determining how past and present charges affect a driver's license status, a defendant wishing to know exactly what is happening with his driving privileges would best be served by contacting an attorney.
Bryan C. Edwards is a St. Charles DWI Lawyer and practices criminal defense law across the St. Louis metro area, including St. Charles County, St. Louis City and St. Louis County with a consortium of attorneys around the state of Missouri at www.showmelawyergroup.com.