DWI charges can cause significant changes in your everyday life. Those changes only get worse as your penalties increase. The penalties you receive for a DWI offense vary based on your number of offenses. As you dig deeper into the differences in penalties, it is essential to keep in mind what matters most when it comes to DWI classification in terms of number. Your DWI classification depends on the amount of time that has passed between offenses. This aspect of the law is known as the look back period. Most states have their own version of it.
What is Missouri’s Look Back Period?
Missouri’s look back period is five years. This means that if five years have not passed since your first offense, a second DWI charge will be classified as your second offense. You will then receive the penalties for second offenders. If at least five years pass between the first offense and the second time you face DWI charges, that second time counts as a first offense. This means you will receive the penalties for a first offender (again).
For example, let’s say you receive your first DWI offense in 2020. If you get another DWI in 2024, it will be considered your second offense because it happened within that five year period. You will receive the penalties for second offenders. However, if the second time you face DWI charges is in 2027, you will receive penalties for a first offense because it is outside that five year period.
The National College for DUI Defense states, “Under §577.023, RSMo, to be charged as a ‘Prior Offender,’ you must commit a second DWI related offense within five years of the guilty plea or finding of guilty in your first DWI related offense.”
What are the criminal Penalties for DWI in Missouri?
- Up to 6 months in jail
- Up to $500 fine
- Up to 1 year in jail
- Up to $1,000 fine
Your Next Steps in Moving Forward After a DWI Offense
Keep in mind that the look back period does not mean any of your offenses go away. They look back period doesn’t erase them from your record. The look back period simply directs the criminal court to decide the type of penalties you will receive as a result of your DWI charge. This aspect of DWI law has no effect on your driving record.
After a DWI offense, it is best to focus on making positive moves forward. This will allow you to go on with your life. Contact a DWI lawyer to begin getting answers to the questions flooding your mind. Depending on your number of DWI offenses, you could be looking at several different penalties. These can be difficult to sort through. DWI law can be tricky to navigate. It can make the process of getting your driving privilege back, on top of other privileges, more complicated than you might expect. If you have recently dealt with DWI charges, contact us today at The Shostak Law Firm, LLC to get back safely on the road.