Criminal DWI Charges Attorney in St. Louis, MO

If I got a DWI, Does That Mean I'm a Criminal?

In Missouri, DWI charges are a criminal offense.  That means they are prosecuted in court, and if found guilty fines, court costs, probation, and jail time are all possible consequences of the DWI charge.  

First or Second time offenses are charged either as Misdemeanors or Municipal Infractions.  Third and subsequent offenses are charged as Felonies.  

Most likely I will be able to determine what your DWI is being charged (infraction, misdemeanor, or felony) during our initial consultation.  Most often a first-time offense is charged in Municipal Court as an infraction.  In Municipal Court a DWI infraction carries a maximum penalty of $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail.  Although those are the MAXIMUM punishments, they are rarely imposed, and often times a 1'st offense will result in probation.  In some cases it is possible to get a DWI charge reduced to a simple traffic ticket, or even dismissed.  This scenario is possible because of my years of experience in defending DWI offenses, and my ability to effectively negotiate with prosecutors throughout the St. Louis area.

DWI Experience and Expertise

I have fought and won several DWI cases in throughout the Saint Louis area.  During a DWI investigation, police will cut corners, take shortcuts, and make mistakes.  Your DUI lawyer should not!  I provide my clients with an incredibly thorough DWI defense that often times leads to helpful evidence – the type of evidence that gets a DWI reduced to a non-alcohol violation, or even thrown out and dismissed.

Make no mistake about it: a DWI is a serious charge that could result in the loss of your driver's license, a criminal record, or even a jail or prison sentence.  Make sure you hire a serious DWI lawyer to give you the best chance in your case.

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Is This DWI Going to Go on My Record?

In Missouri, your criminal record consists of crimes you have been convicted of by a court of law.  There are circumstances however where you can be found guilty of a crime, but not convicted.  This is something to discuss in greater detail with your attorney, but generally speaking, if you get a specific type of probation, it may be possible to keep a DWI from going on your criminal record.  

HOWEVER, even if the DWI doesn't go on your criminal record as a conviction, it may still be able to come back to bite you.  There are 2 main scenarios where this becomes an issue:

First - If you are charged with a subsequent DWI (i.e., you get a 2'nd offense sometime down the road) your prior plea, even if no conviction, can be used to "enhance" a DWI to a higher level offense, such as a felony.

Second - If you are applying for a job, a background check could reveal that you plead guilty, but were not convicted of a DWI.  Background checks vary by different agencies that conduct them, and my experience is that if someone looks hard enough at your past, they may be able to find the DWI even if you were not convicted.

It is possible to keep a DWI off your record, however, that will either require an acquittal at trial (you go to trial and win) or your lawyer gets something worked out with the prosecutor for an amended charge.  The possibilities are extremely case-specific, and each DWI case is unique, so you must discuss your situation with your lawyer to find out what options you have for your case.