Missouri courts take any drunk driving charge very seriously, but people facing these charges after a conviction have more pressing concerns. Will you be punished more severely for driving while intoxicated (DWI)? Will a longer jail sentence keep you away from work and family? Will severe fines damage your finances? Could you be charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor?

Prior convictions lead to more jail time and greater fines.

A person’s first DWI conviction is considered a Class B misdemeanor and will result in up to 5 days in jail. Multiple convictions, however, will result in harsher punishments. The courts punish a DWI conviction with at least ten days in jail, a third DWI conviction with at least 30 days in jail, and a fourth DWI conviction with at least 60 days of jail time. After your fourth conviction, penalties include at least two years of jail time.

Fines also increase after prior convictions. While first offenses result in fines of up to $500, second offenses could include fines of up to $1,000. Third offenses may be punished with fines of up to $5,000.

Repeat convictions come with new penalties.

Your second DWI will not only result in longer jail sentences and higher fines. A second DWI conviction will usually result in the courts revoking your license for one year, and you may receive a five-year license denial. Further convictions will result in ten-year license denial.

Could the authorities charge you with a felony?

If you have two or more DWI convictions on your record, those prior convictions will result in felony charges in subsequent DWI charges. The courts may impose penalties like long prison sentences, parole and a lifelong criminal record that could impact your career, your housing opportunities and many other aspects of your life.

Even one DWI conviction can have a long-term impact on a person’s life. If you face drunk driving charges, consider speaking to an attorney about the charges you face and your legal options.