“Each day, people drive drunk more than 300,000 times, but only about 3,200 are arrested.”
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reminds us of the prevalence of drunk drivers on our roads. Every day, 27 people are killed by a drunk driver. Whenever we talk or read about reports of drunk driving accidents, we often come across two terms, ‘driving under the influence (DUI) and ‘driving when intoxicated’ (DWI). Many people use the terms interchangeably.
Missouri Law – Driving When Intoxicated
In Missouri, the law is clear that there is no real difference between a DUI and DWI. Under Missouri law, driving when intoxicated is the preferred term. DWI is charged to a driver who is found to be driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. For drivers under the age of 21, DWI is charged to a driver operating a vehicle with a BAC of .02 percent of higher.
Punishment for a DWI
A person who is convicted of DWI for the first time faces a Class B misdemeanor charge. A driver convicted of DWI may have to serve jail time of up to six months and pay a fine of up to $500. A DWI may also lead to suspension of driving privileges for a minimum of 30 days and a period of time during which there are restrictions on where and when the convicted driver can travel.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID)
In Missouri, there is another category of intoxicated driving offence known as Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID). A driver gets a DWI when he or she has a BAC of .08 percent or higher, but there are no such limits when it comes to DUID. Any amount of drugs that can impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely is enough for a DUID.
Driving under the influence of any kind of intoxicating substance can lead to a DUID conviction. This can include illegal drugs, prescription narcotics, and even over-the-counter medication. A person driving under the influence of an over-the-counter cold medication that induces drowsiness and a person driving under the influence of cocaine are both treated alike by the law.
Punishment for a DUID
In Missouri, the penalties for a DUID are the same as those for DWI. Anyone who is charged with DUID may also face drug possession charges, depending on the substance they are found with.