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Sentence Enhancements for DUI (DWI) in Missouri

Sentence enhancements are ways in which penalties for DWI/BAC can be increased.  The purpose of sentence enhancements is to increase the punishment in cases where a person has acted even more reckless than in usual DWI cases.  There are several sentence enhancements currently used in Missouri.  They are in cases of repeat offenders and in cases where sentences are increased due to higher readings of blood alcohol content.

Sentence enhancements for people who are reoccurring offenders of DWI/BAC in the state are grouped into “prior offender,” “persistent offenders,” “aggravated offenders,” and “chronic offenders.”

A “prior offender” is a person who has plead guilty or has been convicted of  one intoxication-related traffic crime, where such past offense occurred within five years of the occurrence of the present intoxication-related traffic offense for which the person is charged.  Although the prior offender is considered a class A misdemeanor and not a felony, the sentence enhancement comes with stricter fines, longer license suspension, and a mandatory 10-day jail term before the person is eligible for parole or for probation.

A “persistent offender” is person who has plead guilty or who has been convicted of two or more intoxicated related traffic crimes, or has plead/ been convicted of one intoxicated related traffic crime plus involuntary manslaughter, assault in the second degree , or assault of a police officer in the second degree.  A persistent offender is a class D felony, and carries a larger fine, longer license suspension and jail time.

An “Aggravated offender” is a person who has plead guilty or been convicted of three or more intoxicated related traffic crimes or has plead/ convicted of one intoxicated related crimes plus involuntary manslaughter, murder in the 2nd degree, where underlying felony is intoxication-related traffic offence,  assault in the 2nd degree, or assault of police officer in the 2nd degree.

An aggravated offender is a class C felony offense and receives a greater fine, license suspension, and jail time.

A “chronic offender” is a person who has:

A.) Pleaded guilty or been convicted of four or more intoxicated related traffic crimes.

B.) Pleaded guilty or been convicted of on two or more separate occasions, any combination of the following: involuntary manslaughter, murder in the 2nd degree, where underlying felony is intoxication-related traffic offence,  assault in the 2nd degree, or assault of police officer in the 2nd degree.

C.) Has pleaded  guilty or been convicted to two or more intoxicated related traffic offences, plus any of the following: involuntary manslaughter, murder in the 2nd degree, where underlying felony is intoxication-related traffic offence,  assault in the 2nd degree, or assault of police officer in the 2nd degree.

A chronic offender is a class B felony offense and receives a greater fine, longer license suspension, and jail time.  The chronic offender is the most stringent DWI sentence enhancement in the state.

A person may also receive a harsher punishment if that have a higher BAC content reading.  This is because the higher a person’s BAC level, the more a person was intoxicated, thus making a person more of a danger to be on the road.  Missouri’s law states that any person whose BAC reading was .15-.20 for a first offense must spend not less than 48 hours in jail, whereas BAC reading over .20 for a first offense requires imprisonment of not less than five days.


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