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What Are My Rights Whenever I Am Charged with a DWI?

What Are My Rights If I Am Charged with a DWI?

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges are severe and can ruin your reputation, cause you to lose your independence and, in the worst-case scenario, lead to jail time. Driving sober is always the best practice. Even if you have only had a few drinks and think you are fine to drive, it is vital to be on the side of caution.

However, if an officer charges you with a DWI that you believe is unfair, it is crucial to know what to do to protect yourself. You need to act fast because a criminal record, fines, suspension of your license and jail time are on the line. Remember, your defense doesn’t start in the courtroom; it starts from the moment you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer. 

Dealing with a DWI Stop

Whenever a law enforcement officer pulls you over, it is because he or she observed signs of impairment or a traffic violation. It is essential to remember that the officers are doing their job whenever they stop you. Be polite in your interaction. Being rude is a quick way to set yourself up for failure. The officer will begin to observe and take note of your behavior to look for signs of drinking and driving or illicit drug use. 

You Don’t Have to Say Anything Incriminating

The officer may ask you questions about what you have been doing throughout the evening. You won’t receive your Miranda Rights because you aren’t in police custody. As the officer asks you questions that could be incriminating, be respectful and polite, but be careful how you answer. Some officers may use silence as an admission of guilt, but it is best to speak with an experienced attorney who can give you sound legal advice on what you should and shouldn’t say.

Your Car Can Be Searched Without a Warrant

The officer may ask to search your vehicle during the roadside stop. A search can happen without a warrant if there is probable cause of incriminating evidence inside your car.

Complying with Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and Other Chemical Drug Tests During or After a DWI Stop

In the state of Missouri, there is implied consent for you to submit an alcohol or drug test when requested by a law enforcement officer. If you refuse to provide a sample, the state of Missouri can suspend your license for a year.

The Two Aspects of a DWI Case

When someone is charged with a DWI, there are two aspects to the charge: criminal and civil. The criminal element of the case is the actual charge of driving while intoxicated. The civil or administrative aspect of the case involves the State of Missouri Department of Revenue suspending your driver’s license. Your arresting officer will give you a paper permit to use between your arrest and your hearing. 

DWI Hearing Process

If you are charged with a DWI, you should contact a DWI attorney immediately. You only have 15 days to request an administrative hearing. An experienced lawyer will help you through the process of submitting your request. 

Before your hearing, an experienced attorney will prepare through extensive investigation, interviewing, witness preparation, discovery requests and pretrial motions, such as the motions to suppress evidence. They should be able to take a look at all of the facts from the case and decide if there is a challenge to be made on a strong base of evidence. 

After your lawyer has done thorough research on the case, they will give you their advice, but allow you to make your decision about whether to plead guilty or not.

If you are facing a Missouri DWI charge, contact an experienced lawyer at Eng and Woods Attorneys at Law today. We will give you superior legal advice and help you through this trying process.

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    903 E. Ash Street
    Columbia, Missouri 65201
    Phone: 573-874-4190
    Fax: 573-874-4192
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