Car key in front of drink next to gavel

Dispelling DUI Myths for Missouri Drivers

Guilfoil Law Group Oct. 27, 2021

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, there were 5,477 crashes where alcohol was involved or where there was suspected alcohol use in 2019. While there isn’t a crash every time someone drives under the influence, there’s often a different consequence – a DUI.

A mistake shouldn’t define your life, but DUIs have serious ramifications. I’ve been representing clients who are facing DUI charges for over twenty years at my firm, Guilfoil Law Group. I know how the law works in these situations. My firm works hard to defend our clients in Kansas City, Missouri, Clay County, Platte County, Jackson County, and throughout Missouri, on DUI and related charges.

DUI Charges in Missouri

If there is probable cause to believe that an individual may be operating a vehicle while their blood alcohol level is over the legal limit, they can be stopped or arrested and face DUI charges. Drunk driving could cause serious consequences, ranging from a heavy fine to jail time, and you’ll most likely lose your driving privileges as well.

Common Myths and Facts About DUI Charges

There’s a lot of information out there about what happens if you’re charged with a DUI. How do you separate fact from fiction? Take a look at these four DUI myths and learn what’s true and what isn’t.

Myth #1: You have to be actually driving to be arrested for a DUI.

In Missouri, this isn’t the case. If you’re sleeping in your car on the side of the road, and the engine is running, that could be considered “operating” your vehicle.” It could be grounds for a DUI.

According to Missouri courts, if you are in a position to restrain or regulate a vehicle’s movements, then you are in actual physical control, and you could get a DUI.

Myth #2: You must submit to a field sobriety test.

You don’t have to submit to a field sobriety test, including a blood test or urine test, under Missouri law – but there is a major consequence. You will have an automatic one-year “chemical revocation” of your driver’s license. If you don’t submit to the test, you must provide your license and proof of insurance, submit to frisking for officer safety, and sit in the officer’s car.

Myth #3: A DUI will fall off my record in seven years.

A criminal record doesn’t automatically get wiped clean after a set number of years. You can potentially expunge your criminal arrest, guilty plea, or conviction depending on several factors. The criteria are different for felonies and misdemeanors.

  • Felonies: Expungement is a possibility if you have one felony to expunge, multiple felonies that are on the same indictment, or if the felonies are the same course of criminal conduct.

  • Misdemeanors: If you have two or more misdemeanors or ordinance violations to expunge, you may be eligible for expungement if three years have passed since probation or parole was completed and all fines were paid.

An experienced DUI attorney can help you navigate the expungement process when you are eligible, but don’t believe the charge will simply disappear from your record.

Myth #4: A DUI charge isn’t worth fighting.

It’s my belief that it’s always worth it to fight your DUI charge. On top of always fighting to protect your rights, there are some circumstances that no one should ever plead guilty to. If your case carries mandatory jail time, or if your job is riding on whether or not you lose your driver’s license, then you should definitely fight your DUI.

DUI Attorney in Kansas City, Missouri

There are many myths out there about what happens when someone is charged with a DUI. It’s important to separate fact from fiction, and it’s also a wise idea to get a criminal defense lawyer who knows the system inside and out.

I’ve taught courses on DWI charges, as well as other topics, to lawyers, police, and other law enforcement officials in both Kansas and Missouri. I know how the system works and I’ll leverage that knowledge to advocate for you.

My firm, Guilfoil Law Group, works hard to provide legal support for clients in Kansas City, Clay County, Platte County, Jackson County, and throughout Missouri. If you’re facing a DUI or DWI charge, let us defend you. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.