Felony DWI Charge for Man Arrested at Home After Car Accident

An Imperial man faces felony DWI charges stemming from an incident where a police officer arrested the man at his home. A Missouri State Highway Patrolman found the man’s wrecked car, but no one was near the car. The officer then ran a search on the vehicle and proceeded to the owner’s house. Once the officer arrived at the man’s house the man admitted to the car accident, the officer conducted field sobriety tests and placed him under arrest. Unfortunately for the police officer there may be several problems with the facts of this case.

First, anytime there is a gap in time between driving and a drunk driving arrest there is the possiblity for rising blood alcohol or a general disconnect between the driver’s possible intoxication when driving compared with the driver’s intoxication when performing field sobriety tests. Second, when the driver has not been observed by a police officer between the time of driving and the time of arrest there is always the possiblity the driver drank alcohol between the time of driving and the time of arrest. In this scenario it makes it impossible for the police or courts to determine if the driver was intoxicated at the actual time he was driving.

A car accident alone would lead some people to believe the driver must have been drunk when he was driving his car. The flaw in that theory is that accidents happen every single day when people are completely sober. Whether the driver was falling asleep, texting, or simply not paying attention, there are many reasons a single car accident may occur other than intoxication. Without proof of intoxication at the time of driving, the prosecutor’s office will not be able to secure a conviction. This is particularly important because this man is facing a felony DWI charge because he has three prior drunk driving related cases. In Missouri, a person’s third or subsequent drunk driving arrest is considered a felony with mandatory conviction and jail time if found guilty.

Source: Arnold Patch, “Fourth DWI for Man Who Went Home After Crashing His Car, Police Say,” Ryan Martin, May 10, 2013.

  • Our firm has worked with Missouri residents to handle difficult or complex drunk driving cases. To find our more, please visit our webpage with more information on Felony DWI.
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