What a DWI Conviction In Missouri Really Costs

After a night out, a $20 (or even $50) cost of a taxi, Uber or Lyft ride can be a lot less expensive than the alternative. If you drive after just a couple of drinks, you have the potential to cause harm to others, as well as jail time. It’s easier to negate these expenses by parking and riding with someone else, but you may not realize it at the time.

If you’re arrested, these are some of the expenses you’ll incur if you’re arrested, and subsequently convicted, of Driving While Intoxicated in Missouri.

Losing Your License

Once you’re arrested, your license is immediately suspended for 30 days, with the possibility of 60 days of restricted use.

Refusing to submit to a chemical test suspends your license for a full year, no questions asked.

If you’re unable to drive, will you be able to get to and from work? Is public transportation an option?  Or will you be taking taxis, rideshares, or other alternative transportation? Your transport costs will likely increase if you are unable to drive yourself to work, school, or anywhere else you go on a daily basis.

Additionally, if driving is part of your job, you will be unable to work, and could likely lose your job after an arrest or conviction.

Do you drive a truck? CDL drivers who are convicted of driving a commercial motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 or (half the legal limit of 0.08) or higher are disqualified from driving one for a period of 1 year, with two points assessed on their driving records. A second offense by a CDL driver will result in the permanent loss of license, effectively ending a driver’s career.

DWI Fines

For a first offense, you’ll face a fine of up to $500, with the possibility of additional court costs of $100.

A second offense fine can be as much as $1,000 with an additional $100 in court costs.

A third and/or offense fine can be as much as $5,000, with an additional $100 in court costs. Fourth offenses are considered a Class “C” Felony, and classifies a person as an “aggravated offender.”

There may be other court costs involved as well, as well as fees to have your license restored.

Ignition Interlock System

This is a hand-held breath alcohol tester that is hardwired into a car’s ignition, requiring regular breath-testing to continue operating the vehicle. If the system records a BAC over the legal limit, the car will not operate. It doesn’t interfere with the car’s normal operation otherwise.

If your driving privileges are restored, you may be required to have an ignition interlock system installed on your vehicle as a condition. Typically, these are required after a second offense, but can be required in some cases after a first. 

The costs of these devices vary from $75 to upwards of $200, with installation fees and monthly subscription fees from $60 to $100. Additionally, maintenance and calibration can also run from $75 to over $200 per month.


DWI carries with it the possibility of jail time, which, at the maximum, could also lead to your employment being terminated.

  • First offense—six months in jail
  • Second offense—one year in jail
  • Third offense—up to four years in jail
  • Fourth offense—up to seven years in jail, or a year in a county jail, depending on circumstances

A jail sentence may also be mitigated with community service. Your DWI defense attorney can advise you on this option, which may include additional costs.

Attorney/Legal Fees

If you choose to hire an attorney, you will be responsible for paying those fees. All attorneys, however, are not alike. Hiring a Missouri attorney who specifically handles DWI cases gives you a much better chance at acquittal and/or dismissal. While it will cost money to hire a DWI attorney, the savings of fines, court costs, lost wages and income, and other increased expenses will be well worth the cost.

Don’t Just Plead Guilty To A DWI In Missouri

Not everyone charged with DWI is guilty, but you can’t do this on yourown. Grant Shostak has considerable experience defending people who have been arrested for DWI. Call him today at (314) 380-3059, or contact him online at grant@shostaklawfirm.com to schedule your appointment.

Have questions? Check out our free ebook, Missouri DWI Survival Guide, available on our website.

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