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Amending a DWI to a Lesser Offense

A vast majority of DWI's in Missouri are disposed of through plead negotiations with the prosecuting attorney. In some cases, the prosecutor may be willing to amend the DWI charge to a lesser offense such as careless and imprudent driving (C & I). Purely from a charge perspective, this is a good result because a C&I is not an alcohol related offense and in most cases, carries a two point violation instead of the eight points assessed on a license as a result of a DWI conviction. This could also be important if a person is subsequently charged with another DWI in the future, as some courts and prosecutors will treat the second case as a first because there was no plea of guilty to the DWI in the first (note, however, that now some courts and prosecutors are using C&I amendments as a reason not to give a suspended imposition of sentence on the second DWI charge).

Should I amend my DWI to a lesser offense?

Despite these benefits, it may not always be in the best interest of the person charged to choose an amendment. For example, if the person refused to give a breath sample and the arrest occurred in St. Louis County, Jefferson County or St. Charles County, it may be possible to avoid a one year revocation of the person's license. However, one of the requirements the prosecutor will likely have is that the person mush plead guilty to the DWI on the criminal side of the case. If the person pleas to an amended charge and not DWI, he or she will likely lose their license for a full year.

One other potential problem with amending a DWI to a lesser offense is that the person will not likely be eligible to have the arrest and charge expunged from his or her record. Under Missouri law, a person is eligible to have a first offense DWI charge expunged after 10 years if, among other things, the person pled guilty to the DWI charge. If the person pleas to a lesser offense, he or she will likely not be eligible to have the incident expunged from the person's record.

When considering whether or not to accept an amended charge in connection with a DWI, there are several factors to consider. One should not necessarily jump at the opportunity without thoroughly examining all of the consequences to their license and criminal record. If you have been charged with a DWI in Missouri, call the DWI attorneys at Millikan Wright, LLC for a free consultation.

Categories: DWI

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