The Legal Alcohol Driving Limit in Missouri for 2024

Drink and drive laws in Missouri

In Missouri, the maximum legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is set at 0.08%, equivalent to 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.

It is crucial to remember that this article aims to raise knowledge of Missouri’s drunk driving laws. This website does not support or encourage intoxicated driving in any state or region.

What is the legal alcohol limit for driving in Missouri?

In Missouri, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limits for driving are determined by the type of driver’s license and age. The state enforces specific BAC thresholds to ensure road safety and reduce alcohol-related incidents. Below are the defined legal limits for each category of drivers:

  • Regular Drivers: The legal BAC limit is 0.08%. This applies to most drivers operating personal vehicles.
  • Commercial Drivers: For those holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL), the legal BAC limit is lowered to 0.04%, reflecting the higher standards expected of professional drivers.
  • Minors (Under 21): Missouri enforces a Zero Tolerance policy for underage drivers. It is illegal for minors to operate a vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system, emphasizing the state’s commitment to preventing underage drinking and driving.

Drink and Drive Penalties and Punishments in Missouri

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Missouri carries significant penalties and punishments, varying by the number of convictions and specific circumstances. It’s crucial for drivers to be aware of these legal consequences and to regularly check the official state’s website for the most current information. Here’s a breakdown of the penalties based on different scenarios:

First Convictions:

  • Excessive Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): A first conviction results in a 90-day suspension of driving privileges. However, you may be eligible for a Restricted Driving Privilege (RDP).
  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) by Alcohol or Drugs: Similarly, a first-time DWI leads to a 90-day suspension with potential eligibility for RDP.
  • Commercial Vehicle Operators: If convicted of operating a commercial motor vehicle with a BAC of .04% or higher, 2 points will be assessed on your Missouri driver record, and you’ll face a one-year disqualification from driving commercial vehicles.

Multiple Convictions:

  • Second Offense: A second intoxication-related traffic offense typically results in a 1-year revocation for point accumulation. If the second conviction for an alcohol- or drug-related offense occurs within five years, a 5-year license denial may be imposed.
  • Three or More Offenses: Three or more convictions for intoxication-related traffic offenses lead to a 10-year license denial.

Administrative Alcohol Arrests:

  • Arrests for BAC of .08% or Higher: These offenses are processed both administratively and criminally. Minors with a BAC of .020% or higher face administrative sanctions.
  • Hearing Process: You have 15 days from receiving a Notice of Suspension/Revocation to request an administrative hearing, which may occur in person or by telephone.


  • The action taken depends on your driving record over the past five years. A 90-day suspension or a one-year revocation may be imposed, with eligibility for RDP in some suspension cases.

Alcohol/Drug Test Refusals:

  • Refusing an alcohol and/or drug test results in a one-year revocation of your driving privilege under Missouri’s implied consent law.

Abuse and Lose:

  • Individuals under 21 may face a 90-day suspension or a one-year revocation for various alcohol-related offenses. Those 21 and over may face a one-year revocation for drug possession or use while driving.

Minor in Possession/Other Alcohol Offenses:

  • Convictions or court-ordered suspensions/revocations for alcohol-related offenses can lead to suspensions or revocations of driving privileges, with the severity increasing with subsequent offenses.

For detailed information on reinstating a Missouri driving privilege and understanding Missouri’s point system, it is advised to visit the state’s official web pages for License Reinstatement Requirements and Tickets and Points. These resources provide the most up-to-date and comprehensive information regarding driving laws and penalties in Missouri.

How Can I Calculate If My Alcohol Blood Limit Is Legal in Missouri?

In Missouri, police determine if a driver is over the legal alcohol limit primarily through breathalyzer tests and, in some cases, blood tests. These methods are scientifically validated for their accuracy and are used to enforce DUI laws. If you’re wondering how to self-assess your blood alcohol content (BAC) to ensure you’re within legal limits, there are a couple of ways to do this, based on my decade-long experience as a phlebologist:

  1. Use a High-Quality Alcohol Breathalyzer: For those who want to self-test, I recommend using a professional-grade alcohol breathalyzer, such as the BACtrack S80, which is available in Missouri. This device is known for its professional-grade accuracy and is both DOT & NHTSA Approved and FDA 510(k) Cleared. Keeping one of these in your car can be a prudent measure, as it can help you understand your BAC level accurately, potentially preventing impaired driving. It’s a common observation that individuals sometimes misjudge their impairment level, leading to risky decisions.
  2. Use a BAC Calculator: Along with fellow phlebologists and web developers, I’ve developed a BAC calculator that’s available online. This tool can help you estimate your BAC based on the amount of alcohol consumed, your weight, and the time elapsed since drinking. While this method also doesn’t guarantee 100% accuracy, it’s a useful resource for getting an approximate understanding of your BAC level.

It’s important to remember that both of these methods are designed to provide estimates of your BAC and should not be relied upon as definitive assessments of your ability to drive legally or safely. Factors like metabolism, food intake, and individual health conditions can affect BAC readings and how alcohol impacts your body.

Given the potential legal consequences and the risk to yourself and others, these tools should primarily serve as aids in making responsible decisions about drinking and driving. If there’s any doubt about your sobriety, the safest choice is to not drive.

Ways to Avoid Driving with a High BAC in Missouri

Drink beer and drive in Missouri

Driving with a high Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) not only poses a significant risk to your safety and the safety of others but also carries severe legal consequences in Missouri. Fortunately, there are reliable and convenient alternatives to ensure you get home safely without having to drive under the influence:

  1. Use Rideshare or Local Taxi Services: One of the easiest and most accessible options is to use a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft. These services offer a safe and affordable way to get home at any hour. Additionally, for those who prefer traditional taxi services, consider using local companies depending on your location. In Kansas City, the Local Budget Cab Co offers dependable service, while in Springfield, the Springfield Yellow Cab Company is a reliable choice. These local taxi services provide a great alternative to driving and ensure you can get home safely without risking DUI charges.
  2. Order a Designated Driver Service: If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve driven to a location but then consumed too much alcohol to drive back safely, a designated driver service is a fantastic solution. These services send a driver to your location to drive you and your car back home. In Kansas City, offers such services, and in Springfield, you can look into Substitute Drivers. For those in other cities, a quick online search for “designated driver service” plus your city name should provide you with local options. This not only keeps you safe but also prevents your vehicle from being left unattended overnight in an unfamiliar location.

Using these services not only helps in avoiding the risks associated with driving under the influence but also supports local businesses and keeps the roads safer for everyone. Remember, planning how to get home safely before going out can make all the difference. Whether it’s booking a ride through a taxi or rideshare app or arranging for a designated driver service, these alternatives ensure that you can enjoy your evening without putting yourself or others at risk on the road.

Sticking to DUI Laws in Missouri

In Missouri, drunk driving is a serious offense, with 987 car accidents in 2020 attributed to alcohol impairment, and 32% of these incidents involved drivers with BACs over 0.08%. Missouri enforces strict DWI laws to curb this issue. Before driving, it’s crucial to ensure your BAC is under the legal limit, which can be checked using a reliable alcohol breathalyzer.

Opting for alternative transportation like Uber, taxis, or designated driver services is a safer choice. Stay updated on the latest DWI regulations by visiting the Missouri Department of Revenue’s website.

Misconceptions about alcohol’s impact on driving abound, but the truth is clear: even minimal alcohol consumption can impair your ability to drive safely. Always consider alternatives to driving if you’ve consumed alcohol, regardless of the amount. Checking your BAC before deciding to drive can prevent DUI incidents. For detailed DUI laws, refer to Missouri’s Department of Revenue website.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.