10 Things to Know About a Missouri DWI


1.     You can get a DWI when the car is not moving.  The definition of driving is very broad and includes situations where people are just sitting in their cars with the engine running.  This happens a lot in the winter when the temperature is low.

2.     You can get a DWI for driving after taking prescription medications.  DWI cases are not limited to alcohol or illegal drugs.  Even if you have a prescription, you can get arrested if the officer suspects that you are impaired.

3.     You can get charged with DWI even if you blow below .08.  Most people think that the .08 standard is an absolute cutoff.  However, it is only the level where a person is legally presumed to be intoxicated.  People can still get arrested below .08, the case is just tougher to prove for the prosecutor.

4.     People get arrested for DWI the morning after drinking.  Simply put, people don’t sober up as fast as they think.  Some people are still impaired after a long night of drinking followed by an early alarm clock for work.  Sleep doesn’t equal sobriety.

5.     When they give you the “eye test” they are looking to see if you eye twitches.  The eye test is called the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.  As a person becomes impaired, their eye muscles become fatigued and don’t move the eye smoothly.  The officer isn’t looking to see whether you can follow his finger, he is checking how your eye reacts.

6.     DWI cases are not limited to alcohol.  They include impairment by marijuana and other drugs.  They don’t have a breath test for marijuana.  Those cases are proven by using an odor of marijuana and blood or urine tests.  Things become complex when a person might have used marijuana several weeks ago, but it still shows up in their system.

7.     You have to fight a DWI on two fronts.  When a person blows above a .08, they typically get both a ticket and a drivers license suspension notice.  You have to fight the ticket in court, but you have to fight the license suspension with the Department of Revenue.  These two events are independent of each other.

8.     Minors can lose their licenses for driving with a blood alcohol level above .02.  This is under a special law in Missouri called ‘Zero Tolerance.”

9.     You can get a DWI case while driving in a parking lot.  There is no requirement that your driving occur on a public street.  People can get a DWI in parking lots, fields, and even yards.

10.  Field sobriety tests are as much about listening to instructions as physical ability.  Before you begin taking the test, the officer gives you a set of instructions.  Listening to these instructions is important, because failure to follow them exactly impacts your score as much as failing the physical part of the test.


To learn more about Missouri DWI cases, click here.  Also, you can contact attorney Chad Gaddie at (816) 232-3430.