Most people understand the legal ramifications of driving while intoxicated (DWI) with alcohol but don’t realize there are legal repercussions for operating a vehicle while under the influence of illegal medications as well. Being charged with a drug DWI in Columbia can have serious consequences if convicted.
It is important to understand your rights and the various legal options you may have if you find yourself facing charges related to a drug DWI. To ensure the best possible outcome for your case, you’ll need to contact an aggressive Columbia drug DWI lawyer. A skilled DWI attorney could fight to get you a positive case outcome.
Under Missouri law, a drug DWI is defined as operating or being in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of any kind of illegal drug or controlled substance. This includes both prescription medications and illegal drugs like cocaine or heroin. And even though marijuana has been legalized for recreational use in Missouri, just like alcohol, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.
Unlike alcohol DWI charges, there are no breathalyzer tests for a drug DWI to determine the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). There is also no legal limit for the amount of drugs in your system with drug DWI charges. If you’re stopped by a law enforcement officer and suspected of being under the influence, you could be arrested on the spot, and it will be your word against the officers. An officer would only need to observe signs of impairment, such as slurred speech, unsafe driving patterns, or failing a field sobriety test, for a charge of drug DWI. An experienced attorney in Columbia could review the circumstances of your controlled substance DWI case and develop a defense strategy on your behalf.
Penalties for drug DWIs in Missouri vary depending on if the individual has had prior convictions in addition to other factors. In Columbia, MO, a drug DWI is a class B misdemeanor and typically carries up to 6 months in jail, a fine between $500 and $1,000, or both. A first offense for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs can also result in a loss of driving privileges for 30 days. For subsequent offenses, the penalties become
If an individual is convicted of a second drug DWI within five years of the first offense, the penalties can include up to one year in jail, and a fine of up to $2,000, or both. In addition, they can also face a loss of driving privileges for at least one year. An ignition interlock device (IID) is also required to be installed in the vehicle for at least six months after driving privileges have been restored.
Drug DWI charges are serious and have long-term ramifications that can follow you for the rest of your life. For this reason, if you have been charged with driving under the influence of an illegal drug, it is important to contact an experienced lawyer immediately. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will dissect the facts of the case and determine the best possible defense, including putting forth any mitigating circumstances on your behalf, if applicable.
Additionally, a legal team member will determine if any of your rights were violated at the time of arrest or if you were stopped without reasonable cause. In some cases, an attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain or have the charges dropped altogether.
A drug DWI conviction can come with serious legal repercussions, and it is important to make sure your rights are protected. The experienced Columbia drug DWI lawyers at the Law Offices of Chris Miller understand the complexities of these charges can help you navigate through this difficult situation.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer about your case.