Driver holding alcoholic bottle while driving

What You Need to Know About a DUI/DWI Charge in Missouri

Guilfoil Law Group  Dec. 12, 2023

If you are found guilty of driving under the influence in KC, the consequences range from heavy fines to jail time. You’ll most likely lose your driving privileges, your job prospects, and more. To put it simply, the consequences are very real. But this doesn’t mean your case is hopeless.

Since opening Guilfoil Law Group, our lead attorney has committed his career to fighting on your side. He’s built countless valuable working relationships with judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officials in order to advocate for the accused.

Understanding DUI/DWI in Missouri

DUI charges are taken seriously in Missouri. As soon as you are arrested or charged with drunk driving, your next step should be to contact a lawyer. For over twenty years, our lead attorney has advocated for individuals facing first-time and repeat drunk driving charges throughout Kansas City and the rest of the state. When you schedule a free consultation with us, we’ll help you gain a solid understanding of the accusations you might be facing.

How Can I Receive A Missouri DUI?

A person commits the crime of "driving while intoxicated" if this person operates a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated condition. It’s important to keep in mind these details of Missouri law:

  • Golf carts, ATVs and mini-bikes—as well as cars, trucks, and other vehicles—are all considered “motor vehicles” for Missouri DWI purposes.

  • “Operation” of a motor vehicle can be proven where any person turns on a vehicle or otherwise engages its machinery. For example, if you’re steering a truck down a hill, out of gas with the engine off, you’re still “operating” it. If you’re sleeping in your car on the side of the road with the engine running, that could also be considered “operating” your car.

  • It must be shown that a subject is intoxicated for a Missouri DWI charge, or is possessing a blood alcohol concentration in excess of 0.08% or higher for a BAC case (excessive blood alcohol content). Any intoxication that in any manner impairs the ability of a person to operate a motor vehicle is enough to sustain a conviction.

  • For minors (under 21) in Kansas City or anywhere else in Missouri, the alcohol limit to be considered driving while intoxicated is 0.02% BAC.

  • In Missouri, unlike many other states, there are two separate civil proceedings where drivers might get their driver's license suspended for DWI:

    • Administrative hearing proceedings — for drivers who gave a chemical test above the applicable legal limit

    • A separate civil driver's license suspension hearing — for chemical test refusal cases

  • Once you have taken the chemical test requested by the law enforcement officer, you may request an independent test at your own expense. The police do not have to inform you of this right under Missouri law unless you know to ask for it. Missouri law does not allow you to choose which chemical test to take, and if you refuse to take the chemical test requested, you then waive the right to a separate chemical test at your own expense, and will be deemed to have "refused.”

Let our lawyer help you understand the details and advocate on your behalf. Matt Guilfoil puts up a fight for clients who need it the most because he knows that a mistake shouldn’t define the rest of your life.

Penalties for Driving Under the Influence

No matter where in Missouri you live—from Jackson County to northern Kansas City—the penalties for DUI remain the same:

  • First offense (Class B Misdemeanor) — up to 6 months in jail, up to $500.00 fine.

  • Second offense (Class A Misdemeanor, “prior offender”) — up to one year in jail, up to a $1000.00 fine

  • Third offense (Class D Felony, “persistent offender”) — three offenses in ten years could mean up to five years in jail, up to a $5000.00 fine

  • Fourth offense aggravated offender (Class C Felony) — up to seven years in jail, up to a $5000.00 fine

  • Fifth offense chronic offender (Class B Felony) — not less than five years nor more than 15 years in prison

DUIs are so common that people tend to brush them off as no big deal, but that is a mistake. Your DUI charge is worth fighting, and we can help you do it.


If you’re facing a DUI or DWI charge, let us defend you. We’re prepared to protect your rights and help you seek the outcome you deserve in Clay County, Platte County, Jackson County, and the rest of Missouri. Call our office today in Kansas City to set up a consultation.