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Kansas City DUI Lawyer Defending Drunk Driving Charges

A DUI arrest can affect every aspect of your life, including your family, your job, your finances and your freedom. Law enforcement officials may lead you to believe your case is open-and-shut and that you have no possible defense. This is not true. Every case is different, but DUI/DWI stops involve many opportunities for mistakes. A successful defense is possible.

In Missouri, there is no difference between DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and DWI (Driving While Impaired); both terms are used to describe the same offense of operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Kansas City, call me, defense lawyer Andrew T. Christie, at 816-533-3456 for a free consultation. Payment plans are available.

Tell Me Your Side Of The Story

I am attorney Andrew T. Christie, and I understand how stressful DUI charges can be. You may feel painfully embarrassed or worry that a driver’s license suspension will prevent you from working. When you call me, I will listen to your concerns and explain the legal process.

My clients appreciate the effort I devote to their cases, whether they are dealing with a first-time drunk driving charge or a felony DUI charge. Drawing on my experience as a criminal defense attorney, I will analyze the facts of your case, paying particular attention to any search and seizure issues with your traffic stop. I will determine whether the field sobriety tests were properly performed and whether there were any problems with your breath test.

Taking DUI/DWI Cases To Trial When Necessary

I also fight felony DUI charges. In Missouri, the third DUI is a felony and these cases often go to trial because they carry serious penalties, including jail time. If you are in this situation, you need an attorney with the litigation skills necessary to present a compelling defense. I have developed a strong reputation as a felony trial attorney, and I am prepared to fight for you in court. I will explain each step of the process in an effort to minimize the stress of the situation.

Below, I’ve provided answers to some of questions clients most often ask. After reading, I invite you to contact me with your own questions.

Do you lose your license for a first-time DUI?

In most cases, a first-time DUI/DWI conviction will result in a 90-day suspension of your license. Because you have no prior DUI or DWI convictions, however, you would likely be eligible to apply for a Restricted Driving Privilege (RDP), which would take effect after the first 30 days of your suspension. An RDP would allow you to drive only for certain activities like work, school or medical/alcohol treatment.

You can obtain an RDP without going through a 30-day suspension, but doing so will require the installation of an ignition interlock device. It’s important to discuss your needs with your attorney early on in the process to ensure you don’t miss any deadlines or restrictions related to the suspension or the RDP.

How long does a DUI stay on your record?

Your conviction will be part of your criminal record indefinitely, which can make it harder to pass a background check needed for employment, housing or higher education. This is one reason why you need to contest the charges with help of an attorney, if possible.

A separate consideration is Missouri’s lookback period, which is five years. If you are convicted of a subsequent DUI within five years of your first, you face increased penalties. If more than five years has elapsed, it is essentially treated the same as a first offense.

Can you refuse a DUI checkpoint in Kansas City?

DUI checkpoints have been deemed legal in Missouri, though they remain controversial. If you are approaching a DUI checkpoint and have the opportunity to avoid it, you can do so as long as you are not violating traffic laws in the process. An officer may try to follow you if they see you, however.

Once at the checkpoint, an officer can ask you to submit to a chemical test. Although you can refuse to be tested, you will lose your license for a year (with some possibility of appealing that decision later).

Police may also ask whether you’ve been drinking. You don’t need to answer an incriminating question. If they ask to search your vehicle, you can and should say no. They may search it anyway, but refusing to allow the search preserves the possibility that you could challenge it later in court.

If convicted of a DUI/DWI, will I have to serve jail time?

In Missouri, you face up to six months in jail, even for a first-time offense. This is one reason why it is so important to have an experienced defense attorney advocate for you in court.

What are the penalties for DUI/DWI in Missouri?

Most first-time DUI/DWI offenses are charged as Class B misdemeanors. The penalties for these include up to six months in jail and a $500 fine. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is between .15% and .2%, you face a minimum of 48 hours in jail, and that increases to a minimum of five days for a BAC above .2%. This is in addition to court costs, license suspensions and increased insurance costs.

A second offense is generally charged as a Class A misdemeanor, which comes with a mandatory minimum of 48 hours behind bars and a maximum of one year, in addition to a $1,000 fine.

Third offenses are usually charged as felonies, which means that a conviction could bring up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, in addition to the loss of your license.

How can I get my license reinstated?

If your license was suspended for a DUI/DWI offense, the reinstatement fee is $45. However, you will have to obtain (and maintain for two years) an SR-22 liability insurance policy and provide proof of such. You will also have to successfully complete the Substance Awareness Traffic Offender Program (SATOP). If you had a 90-day Restricted Driving Privilege (RDP) permit, you would have to obtain a certificate from the IID installer showing that there were no violations during that time.

Should I hire a DUI/DWI attorney?

It takes an experienced attorney to know how to challenge the validity of the traffic stop, the officer’s observations and the chemical testing. An attorney can often negotiate a favorable plea agreement or alternative sentence to reduce the impact of charges, even in the worst of situations. An attorney will protect your rights at every stage of the process.

Contact A Kansas City DUI/DWI Defense Attorney

To schedule a free consultation with Kansas City DUI/DWI defense lawyer Andrew T. Christie, call 816-533-3456 or contact the firm online.