In Missouri, you can be charged with Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) if your driving is impaired, regardless of the amount of drugs found in your body.
Unlike a DWI, There is No Legal Limit of Drugs Required Before Police Can Charge You With Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
According to Section 577.010 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, you are considered guilty of the crime of DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) if you drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When the DWI involves drugs, it is called a DUI or DUID. The legal limit for a DWI for alcohol is .08, but for drugs, there is no limit. Any amount of drugs that impairs your driving is enough for a DUID conviction.
Because of the “Implied Consent” law in Missouri, the police do not need your permission to test your blood, breath, saliva, or urine for traces of drugs or alcohol. If you refuse to be tested, your driver’s license will be revoked for 1 year.
Non-Prescription Medicine Can Impair Your Ability to Drive
If you are convicted of Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, it doesn’t matter if the drugs that caused your impaired driving are legal or illegal, prescription or non-prescription; it could be cocaine, or medicine that your doctor prescribed for you, or something you bought over the counter at a grocery store for a cold or flu.
DUI Drug Convictions Stay on Your Criminal Record and Your Missouri Driving Record Forever
In Missouri, a first-time conviction for a misdemeanor DWI (alcohol) or a first-time conviction for an MIP (Minor in Possession) can be expunged (removed or deleted) from your criminal record, if you meet certain criteria outlined in section 577.054 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. Unfortunately, Missouri does not allow a conviction for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs to be expunged, so it will remain permanently on your criminal record and your Missouri driving record.
You may be surprised to discover what other types of convictions remain permanently on your Missouri driving record and are never eligible for removal. See my previous blog post regarding what types of convictions stay on your Missouri driving record forever.
If you are interested in reading about the requirements you must meet to have an MIP or DWI conviction expunged from your permanent criminal record, see my previous blog post about expungement of Missouri DWI and MIP convictions.
The Penalties for DUID and DWI Are the Same in Missouri
The potential penalties are the same for a first-time conviction for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs as for a DWI in Missouri: you can be sentenced to as much as 6 months in prison, you can be forced to pay a fine of up to $500, and you can lose your driving privileges. If you hire an attorney who successfully negotiates a plea bargain with the court to reduce the DUID or DWI charge to a lesser offense, you will still have to pay a fine and court costs, serve 1-2 years of probation, perform community service, and complete a substance abuse program called SATOP before your driver’s license will be reinstated.
The Same Amount of Points Are Added to Your Missouri Driving Record for DWI and Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
A DUID conviction in Missouri carries the same amount of points as a DWI conviction. If it’s your first offense, 8 points are added to your Missouri driving record if you are convicted of DUID. For subsequent convictions, 12 points are added to your driving record.
Your Driver’s License Will be Suspended or Revoked if You Have Too Many Points on Your Missouri Driving Record
If you accumulate 12 points within 12 months, your Missouri driver’s license will be revoked for 1 year. If 8 points are assessed against your driving record within 18 months, your driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days (if it’s your first suspension). Your license will be suspended for 60 days if it’s your 2nd suspension. For a 3rd suspension, the suspension lasts 90 days. After the suspension period ends, you will have to go through the process of getting your driver’s license reinstated. Click on the following page of my website to read about how to get your Missouri driver’s license reinstated.
To find out how long points stay on your Missouri driving record, and how to get them removed, see my previous blog post titled, “Speeding Ticket Points Stay on Your Missouri Driving Record for Only 18 Months.”
Possession of Drugs or Drug Paraphernalia Convictions Stay on Your Criminal Record Forever But Do Not Affect Your Missouri Driving Record
Unlike a conviction for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, a conviction for possession of drugs (such as marijuana) or drug paraphernalia (a pipe) does not affect your Missouri driving record at all. If a police officer pulls you over while you are driving and finds marijuana, a pipe, or a bong in your car, you may be charged with possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia. If you are convicted of those charges, the convictions will stay on your criminal record forever and can not be expunged, but no points will be added to your Missouri driving record. See my previous blog post about drug possession convictions that stay on your Missouri driving record forever.
As with many other types of criminal charges, you can hire an attorney to negotiate a plea bargain with the court to have your drug possession or drug paraphernalia charges reduced to a lesser offense, such as “Littering.” You will have to pay a fine and court costs, but the drug possession convictions won’t show up on your permanent criminal record.
For links to more information about Missouri courts, DWI, points, or other issues related to traffic tickets and their effect on your Missouri driving record, see the Traffic Law Resources page on my website.
See the following blog posts for information about St. Louis red light camera tickets or the A.R.C. Zone (Accident Reduction Corridor or Travel Safe Zone) speeding tickets currently being issued in north St. Louis County.