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Repeat DUI Offenses

Missouri DUI penalties are based on the number of prior DUI offenses for which you were found guilty. This includes guilty by verdict after a trial or by a voluntarily entering a plea of guilty as is commonly done in connection with a bargained plea deal. Any DUI charge which is still pending, or for which you have yet to be charged, is not counted as a prior DUI offense at the time you are arrested for a new offense.

When you are facing a second or more DUI charge, you should have an attorney on your side who is familiar with Missouri's DUI laws and who can review your driving record and criminal history to make sure you are not being unfairly charged by the State. A skillful Missouri DUI Attorney knows what to look for and has the experience to put forth the best defense for the particular set of facts in your DUI case. Anthony Bretz has been successfully representing DUI clients in Missouri for more than 10 years.

Missouri DUI enhancement laws, if overlooked, can result in lengthy prison sentences and loss or denial of driving privileges for up to 10 years. Great care must be taken by a defense attorney in order to ensure that your goals are not being overlooked.

In order for the State to apply the Missouri DUI enhancement laws to your case, it is necessary for the charging document, i.e. Complaint or Indictment, to identify each of your prior DUI's by date and location. At trial, then, the State must prove each prior DUI. If the State fails to prove the existence of your prior DUI's then the DUI enhancement laws will not be applied to your case.

Missouri law delineates certain categories for repeat DUI offenders based on the number of prior DUI's in the defendant's record. Each category belongs to a certain classification of misdemeanor or felony and impacts the potential range of punishment for those charged with a repeat DUI. Knowing which repeat offender status you are being charged with can determine which defense strategies may be best suited for your case.

Prior Offender

For those charged with their second Missouri DUI, in order to be adjudged a Prior DUI Offender, the State must allege and prove Beyond a Reasonable Doubt sufficient facts to warrant a finding by the Court that you have been found guilty of one intoxication-related traffic offense. Additionally, this prior finding of guilt must have occurred within five years of the date of your alleged DUI for which you are being currently charged. 

A Prior offender will be charged with a class A misdemeanor DUI rather than a class B misdemeanor. This carries a potential range of punishment of a term not to exceed one year.

Persistent Offender

If you are charged with a third Missouri DUI, then before a Court can enter a finding that of Persistent DUI Offender, the State must allege and prove Beyond a Reasonable Doubt sufficient facts to show either two or more intoxication-related traffic offenses committed on separate occasions; or one intoxication-related traffic offense committed in violation of any state law, county or municipal ordinance, federal offense, or military offense in which the defendant was operating a vehicle while intoxicated and another person was injured or killed. Additionally, these prior findings of guilt must have occurred prior to the date of your current DUI.

A Persistent offender will be charged with a class E felony DUI. This carries a potential range of punishment of a term of years not to exceed four years.

Aggravated Offender

When you are facing a fourth Missouri DUI, the State must allege and prove Beyond a Reasonable Doubt sufficient facts to show either:

  • three or more intoxication-related traffic offenses committed on separate occasions; or
  • two or more intoxication-related traffic offenses committed on separate occasions where at least one of the intoxication-related traffic offenses is an offense committed in violation of any state law, county or municipal ordinance, any federal offense, or any military offense in which the defendant was operating a vehicle while intoxicated and another person was injured or killed.

If the State either does not allege these facts or prove them, then you cannot be sentenced as an Aggravated DUI Offender. Additionally, these prior findings of guilt must have occurred prior to the date of your current DUI.

An Aggravated offender will be charged with a class D felony DUI. This carries a potential range of punishment of a term of years not to exceed seven years.

Chronic Offender

For those charged with their fifth Missouri DUI, in order to be adjudged a Chronic DUI Offender, the State must allege and prove Beyond a Reasonable Doubt sufficient facts to warrant a finding by the Court that you have been found guilty either:

  • Four or more intoxication-related traffic offenses committed on separate occasions; or
  • Three or more intoxication-related traffic offenses committed on separate occasions where at least one of the intoxication-related traffic offenses is an offense committed in violation of any state law, county or municipal ordinance, any federal offense, or any military offense in which the defendant was operating a vehicle while intoxicated and another person was injured or killed; or
  • Two or more intoxication-related traffic offenses committed on separate occasions where both intoxication-related traffic offenses were offenses committed in violation of any state law, county or municipal ordinance, any federal offense, or any military offense in which the defendant was operating a vehicle while intoxicated and another person was injured or killed.

These prior findings of guilt must have occurred prior to the date of your current DUI.

A Chronic offender will be charged with a class C felony DUI. This carries a potential range of punishment of a term of years not less than three years and not to exceed ten years.

Habitual Offender

If you are charged with a sixth, seventh, or more, Missouri DUI, then before the Court can find that you are a Habitual Offender it must be alleged and proven by the State that you have been found guilty either:

  • Five or more intoxication-related traffic offenses committed on separate occasions; or
  • Four or more intoxication-related traffic offenses committed on separate occasions where at least one of the intoxication-related traffic offenses is an offense committed in violation of any state law, county or municipal ordinance, any federal offense, or any military offense in which the defendant was operating a vehicle while intoxicated and another person was injured or killed; or
  • Three or more intoxication-related traffic offenses committed on separate occasions where at least two of the intoxication-related traffic offenses were offenses committed in violation of any state law, county or municipal ordinance, any federal offense, or any military offense in which the defendant was operating a vehicle while intoxicated and another person was injured or killed.

These findings of guilt must have all occurred before the date of your current DUI charge, otherwise the Court cannot enter a finding against you as a Habitual DUI Offender.

Habitual offenders are charged with a class B felony DUI if the defendant has never been found guilty of being a Habitual offender before. If they have, then they will be charged with a class A felony DUI. A class B felony has a potential range of punishment of a term of years not less than five years and not to exceed fifteen years; whereas a class A felony has a possible range of punishment of a term of years not less than ten years and not to exceed thirty years, or life imprisonment.

If you are being charged under one of the above-described DUI enhancement categories, then you need to be represented by a Missouri DUI Lawyer. Anthony Bretz is experienced in defending clients who have been charged as repeat DUI offenders. He succeeds by aggressively challenging each aspect of the State's case, including the State's reliance on prior convictions or findings of guilt. If you are facing a felony DUI, contact us today to get the representation you need working for you now. 

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