The Criminal Case
THE TWO PARTS OF YOUR DWI CASE
Part 1: The Criminal CaseWhen you are charged with a DWI the officer will give you a ticket or issue a summons for you to appear in either a municipal or state court. This and any other tickets you receive constitute your criminal case. DWI charges can either be classified as misdemeanors or felonies depending on the circumstances. No matter the type of charge, a knowledgeable St Louis DWI Lawyer like the one at Skilled Law, will work hard to get you the best possible outcome.
Although jail time is sometimes sought by prosecutors in a DWI case, for most first-time DWIs a deal can be worked out to avoid jail and instead serve a sentence of probation. Sentences of probation often come with additional conditions. Some possible conditions are explained below. For 2nd time DWIs and felony DWI charges, the consequences can be more serious. We work hard to find and utilize every possible strength in your case so we can get the best possible outcome.
THINGS THAT CAN COMPLICATE YOUR CASE
If you have a prior DWI or alcohol related offense on your record, if you are a CDL Holder, or if your DWI involved an accident, it can sometimes complicate your case. Experienced DWI lawyers know how to approach these issues. At Skilled Law, we will use every tool available to get around complicating factors in your case.
UNDERSTANDING PROBATIONAnd Commonly Required Conditions in DWI Criminal Cases
What Will Probation Mean for Me?
There are two categories of probation in Missouri: Suspended Imposition of Sentence (or SIS) and Suspended Execution of Sentence (or SES). BOTH types of probation almost always include additional requirements.
An SIS is the preferred type of probation. With SIS probation, you enter a guilty plea to the charge of DWI, but the case is suspended while you serve out the term of probation (in Missouri, if you plead guilty on a DWI charge and are sentenced to probation, the term has to be at least 2 years). If you complete your probation successfully, the case is closed and the record is sealed. This means that most background checks won’t show a conviction for DWI so it won’t have a lasting impact on your job searches or criminal record; however, law enforcement, the courts, and certain higher-security background checks will still be able to see that you were charged and received an SIS, and the charge will still be used to enhance later cases if you are ever charged with DWI again.
An SES probation is when the court is sentencing you to jail time but is willing to suspend the jail time as long as you successfully complete probation. An SES will result in a conviction on your criminal and driving records.
With EITHER type of probation, if you fail to complete any of the requirements, get arrested for something else, or otherwise violate the terms, the prosecutor will file a Motion to Revoke probation and you’ll be required to report back to the court and jail time and/or a conviction (if it’s an SIS) will be back on the table.
Will I have a Probation Officer?
Usually yes. Sometimes, particularly in the municipal courts, if you have a strong case your attorney may be able to arrange for “bench” probation, which would mean that the court, rather than a probation officer, will be monitoring your probation. In most cases, however, you will have “supervised” probation, which means you will have to sign up with a probation officer.
If you do have a probation officer, depending on the court and the type of probation, you may have to report in person regularly for the entire term, you may only have to report for the early part of the probation while you're completing your additional requirements, or you may only be asked to call in.
There will also be a cost for supervised probation. You can usually pay it up front or in monthly installments. Paying your probation fee is a requirement for successful completion of your probation.
What Types of Additional Requirements Can I Expect?
The additional requirements of your probation will vary depending on the court your charge is issued though and the facts of your case. It will normally be a combination of some of the following:
Community Service --it is very common for a certain number of hours of community service to be a requirement for successful completion of probation. Community Service hours can usually be done at any registered not-for-profit business of your choice. Proof of completion can be provided in a letter provided on the company’s letterhead. *Occasionally certain courts will require that you sign up for community service through a certain agency or office. Always double check your paperwork or ask your attorney before signing up to make sure.
SATOP--SATOP, or Substance Abuse Traffic Offenders Program is almost always a requirement of probation in DWI cases. SATOP can be pretty costly and always involves an evaluation followed by classes. The evaluation (or assessment) currently costs $375. Your placement will depend on your prior history with alcohol and/or drugs. The lowest level class is a 10 hour class that costs an additional $200 to attend. Prices and class length increase from there. You can learn more about SATOP here. Note that if you are required to do SATOP for your license case, you will not have to do it a second time for the criminal case associated with the same arrest.
VIP --VIP or Victim’s Impact Panel is another extremely common requirement for DWI cases. VIP is a 90 minute class sponsored by MADD. They are usually held at multiple locations throughout the state, with each location having a class about once a month. The class costs $40. You can sign up for VIP here.
Alcohol Monitoring --Sometimes the court will require alcohol monitoring as a condition of probation. Sometimes this is through an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) that must be installed on any vehicle that you drive. IIDs include an installation fee and a monthly service fee. If you are required to use an IID and are caught driving a vehicle without an IID device, it will be considered a violation of your probation. Other types of Alcohol Monitoring the Court may require are an alcohol monitoring bracelet called SCRAM or occasionally a portable breath testing device called Soberlink. Both of these devices include an initial cost and monthly service fees.
Payment of Fines and Costs --Paying off any fines and costs associated with your DWI and any companion charges is almost always a requirement of probation.
OTHER POSSIBLE OUTCOMES SkilledDWILaw.com reviews all cases for any possible strengths that will help us in plea negotiations, motion practice, and preparing for trial. We work hard to get the best possible outcome for you. An SIS Probation can be a very satisfactory outcome in the vast majority of first time DWIs, but we will always work for other, sometimes creative, outcomes that fit your life best. A DWI is a serious offense but we do our best to lessen the impact on your day to day life.
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