Felony DWI Lawyer St. Louis, MO. We all know that being caught driving while intoxicated in Missouri can be a huge problem for anyone. It can disrupt every facet of your life and cause a great deal of stress on you and your family. But if your DWI charges have been elevated to a felony, whether you were in an accident or this was not your first time being charged with a DWI, the implications of your arrest are multiplied. Having a felony on your record has lasting implications for years to come and will no doubt cause a strain on your career and lifestyle.
The St. Louis DWI lawyers at Combs Law Group have a proven track record of getting optimal outcomes for their felony DWI clients. Our firm uses a client-centered approach that combines aggressive defense tactics with personal attention to every case they take. Call (314) 900-HELP to speak with an attorney about your St. Louis, MO felony DWI charges and schedule a free consultation.
Felony DWI vs. Misdemeanor DWI in Missouri
Most DWI arrests in Missouri are prosecuted as misdemeanors: first-time DWI offenders usually face class B misdemeanor charges, while for those for whom this is their second time being charged with DWI or if a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the stop, it is a class A misdemeanor. Felony charges are reserved for two different reasons: either the accused is a “persistent” offender (meaning this is, at a minimum, their third DWI arrest), or the person charged with a DWI got into an accident while intoxicated.
Felony DWI charges in Missouri are broken down into the following categories:
- If the defendant is a “persistent” offender (i.e., this is their third DWI arrest) or was in an accident that caused physical injury to another person, they will be charged with a class E felony, which carries 1-4 years in prison. You must spend a minimum of 30 days incarcerated, or completed 480 hours of community service, before becoming eligible for parole.
- If the defendant is an “aggravated” offender (i.e. someone who has been charged and convicted of a minimum 4 DWIs), they were in an accident that injured a first responder or were in an accident that caused “serious physical injury”, they will be charged with a class D felony. The punishment for this is anywhere from 2 to 7 years in prison with a minimum 60 days’ incarceration before becoming eligible for parole.
- Class C felony charges are attached to “chronic” DWI offenders (i.e. if this is their fifth DWI-related arrest), those who seriously injure a first responder in an accident while intoxicated, or get into an accident that results in the death of another person. The minimum punishment for a class C felony in Missouri is 3 years’ imprisonment, and the maximum is 10 years.
- A class B felony is the minimum punishment if the accused is a “habitual” offender (someone who has already been convicted of a Class C felony DWI), causes an accident that claims the life of a first responder, causes the death of a pedestrian or “any person not a passenger in the vehicle operated by the defendant”, is in accident which results in two or more fatalities, or causes the death of any person in an accident where their blood-alcohol content was .18% or higher. Missouri sentencing guidelines stipulate the punishment for a class B felony is anywhere from 5 to 15 years in prison.
In addition to these lengthy jail sentences, being convicted of felony DWI means that you will have a mandatory 10 year suspension of your driving license. Unlike with misdemeanor DWI charges, there is no way to get a restricted driving privilege if you have been convicted of felony DWI in Missouri. You will also be required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device in your car and have an SR-22 insurance endorsement. But more importantly, your life will be changed in ways you may not fully grasp: convicted felons cannot own a firearm, run for office, hold certain jobs, or vote in Missouri elections until their sentence is fully concluded. In addition, those with felony DWIs on their record must disclose to prospective employers or landlords their status as a convicted felon. This can–and often does–limit where they can live and work.
Contact An Experienced St. Louis, Missouri Felony DWI Attorney
The felony DWI attorneys at Combs Law Group understand that our St. Louis, MO felony DWI clients do not want to have a felony on their record for the rest of their lives. This is why we work closely with every one of our clients to prepare a defense that is designed to avoid a felony conviction by all means. Our firm works with judges, prosecutors, and most importantly you, the client, to understand what diversion programs are available. We will also use our network of mental health and medical professionals to suggest rehabilitation and therapy programs, as we understand that addiction is a disease that can be treated.
Some of our recent DWI/DUI Victories
Our record of getting positive results for our DWI clients speaks for itself.
St. Louis County man with previous DUI arrests avoids felony charges.
St. Louis County man with multiple past convictions has DWI charges reduced.
It is our job as St. Louis criminal defense attorneys to get you the outcomes you want, and we invite you to look at some of our recent results to see for yourself why Combs Law Group is one of St. Louis, MO‘s best-reviewed defense firms. When you are ready, contact us online anytime and one of our attorneys will be available to speak with you soon to set up a time for a free review of your case.