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Elements of a DWI/BAC Charge in Missouri

Elements of a charge are the requirements that must by proven by the prosecution in order to find someone guilty of an offense.  A DWI in the state of Missouri requires that the person who is being charged with committing a DWI was operating the motor vehicle in an intoxicated or a drugged condition.

The elements of Driving with excessive blood alcohol content require that the person who is being charged was operating the motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more in relation to their weight.  The states per se BAC level is.08, which means that any BAC reading of .08 or more is automatically considered intoxicated by law.  There are some exceptions to this BAC level, however.  For instance, underage DWI has a per se BAC level of .02 for motorist’s aged 21 and under.  In addition, any commercial vehicle driver needs only a BAC level reading of .04 or greater to be in violation of a DWI.

A person must be actually driving or in “operation” of the motor vehicle and at the same time be intoxicated or in a drugged state in order to be arrested with a DWI/BAC.  A person can be arrested for a DWI while parked on the side or the road, or in scenarios where the vehicle was not moving, only if it can be proven that the person had the vehicle in operation i.e. the engine was still running.

The prosecution has the burden of proving all of the elements of a DWI charge beyond a reasonable doubt.  If they failing in proving even a single one of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt, then the case cannot move forward and the defendant cannot be convicted.


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