The Difference Between a Misdemeanor and Felony DWI in St. Louis

In Missouri, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above, and the limit is even lower for drivers under 21 (.02) and commercial drivers (.04). However, the actual charges will vary depending on the circumstances. One important consideration is whether the individual has prior charges. In Missouri, a first offense DWI stays on your record for five years after conviction to be used against you for subsequent offenses. If you or someone you love has been arrested for a DWI in St. Louis, it is important to understand the difference between a misdemeanor or felony DWI and the resulting consequences.

  • Misdemeanor DWI. A misdemeanor is a lesser charge than a felony charge. Typically, in Missouri the first and second offense for DWI will result in a Class B or Class A misdemeanor. A first offense, or Class B DWI misdemeanor, may result in a $500.00 fine and/or up to six months in county jail. A second offense, or Class A DWI misdemeanor, may result in a $1000.00 fine and/or up to one year in county jail. Subsequent charges will result in felony DWI charges.
  • Felony DWI. Felony charges are more serious that misdemeanor charges. A third DWI charge will result in “persistent offender,” or Class D Felony charge with up to a $5,000.00 fine and/or up to four years in prison. The fourth DWI charge will result in an “aggravated offender,” or Class C Felony charge with up to a $5,000.00 fine and/or up to seven years in prison. Finally, a fifth DWI charge will result in “chronic offender,” or Class B Felony charge resulting in at least five years of prison and up to 15 years of prison.

Each charge and conviction matters. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DWI in St. Louis and need help from an experienced attorney dedicated to helping others, please contact us for an evaluation.