A St. Louis County man was pulled over and arrested for DWI shortly after leaving the Creve Coeur Municipal Court. The Creve Coeur Municipal Court holds court on Wednesday nights, and Eddie Spencer III was pulled over just after he appeared in court on unrelated charges. After the arrest it became clear that Mr. Spencer had two prior alcohol-related driving offenses, so he has been charged as a Persistent DWI Offender, a felony in Missouri. Due to the felony charge, Mr. Spencer is currently being held on a $50,000 bond at the St. Louis County Jail. Although not mandatory by statute, the judge that set his bond also will require Mr. Spencer to wear an alcohol monitoring device as a condition of his bond.
What is a Felony DWI?
In Missouri, a third or subsequent DWI offense is a felony. Missouri used to only count drunk driving priors from the last ten years, but now prosecutors can use any prior drunk driving offenses to enhance a third offense or subsequent offense to a felony. A third offense carries a mandatory 30 days of jail time; a fourth offense 60 days; and 5th and subsequent offenses carry a mandatory two years of time to serve in the Missouri Department of Corrections.
Is it Even Possible to Win a Felony DWI Case?
Yes, felony DWI cases can be won at trial. If the defendant does not testify at the trial then the jury is not allowed to find out if the case is a first drunk driving offense or a a felony offense. This is an incredible benefit because as soon as a jury hears that a defendant has priors then the verdict would almost always be a guilty. In some cases, a jury trial is the best way to deal with felony drunk driving charges, but only with the assistance of a skilled trial attorney.
Please visit our Felony DWI page to read more about the Missouri process and penalties for felony drunk driving charges.
Source: www.kmov.com, “St. Louis County man chanrged with third DWI on way home from court hearing,” August 12, 2013.