Drunk Driving in Missouri 2023: What Is Legal Blood Alcohol Level?

Drink and drive laws in Missouri

Missouri’s legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08% or 80 milliliters of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. Commercial drivers caught driving with a BAC level of 0.04% can be arrested. Even if drivers have a lower BAC, they can still be charged for driving while intoxicated (DWI).

A person’s BAC level of 0.08% is usually reached or exceeded after one or two standard alcoholic drinks. However, because a person’s BAC is influenced by various factors, including gender and weight, this figure is only a rough estimate.

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.

In Missouri, driving while intoxicated is prohibited. According to data, 987 car accidents in Missouri in 2020 were caused by alcohol impairment. In 32% of these collisions, the at-fault drivers had blood alcohol concentrations above 0.08%.

Missouri’s government enforces DWI laws to prevent drunk driving in the state. So, you should check your blood alcohol content before operating a vehicle. To determine whether your blood alcohol level is below Missouri’s legal limit, utilize an alcohol breathalyzer.

Using a designated driver service rather than driving is preferable, such as Uber, a taxi, or a cab.

We advise checking Missouri’s Department of Revenue’s website for the most recent information on DWI driving rules and regulations.

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in Missouri

The ability to concentrate, make informed decisions, and react quickly in an emergency are necessary for driving safely. These skills are impaired by alcohol, putting you and others in danger.

If your BAC were found to be 0.08% or more when driving in Missouri, you would be charged with drunk driving.

The government imposed BAC limits to decrease the frequency of fatal accidents involving impaired drivers.

While the legal BAC limit in the state is 0.08%, it’s important to remember that everyone reacts to alcohol differently.

Some of the following factors can have an impact on your blood alcohol content:

  • gender
  • weight
  • medicine use
  • levels of stress
  • degree of alcohol consumption

Some individuals may pass out after consuming a few bottles of beer. To ensure you obey the DWI laws in Missouri, you must check your blood alcohol content before driving.

A BAC calculator and chart can determine the maximum amount of alcohol you can consume before driving. However, because each person’s reaction to alcohol differs, these strategies might not be the ideal choice for everyone.

The most accurate approach to determining your BAC is still using a certified alcohol breathalyzer.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in Missouri

The level of drunkenness and other variables influences the degree of one’s impairment. When a person’s blood alcohol concentration is between 0.010% and 0.029%, they usually appear normal.

Yet, as BAC levels rise, signs of alcohol-related impairment become more evident.

DUI regulations differ from state to state. Driving under the influence may result in administrative and judicial consequences. Before you drive, assess your BAC checked to avoid penalties.

Below is a detailed explanation of the DWI consequences in Missouri.

First DWI Offense in Missouri

  • Jail Time:  Imprisonment for up to six months
  • Fines: Up to $500 fine
  • License Suspension: 90-day restricted driving privilege (RDP) with an Ignition Interlock Device or 30-day license suspension followed by a 60-day RDP
  • Point Accumulation: 8 points

Second DWI Offense in Missouri

  • Jail Time:  One-year imprisonment
  • Fines:  Up to $1,000 fine
  • License Suspension: One-year license revocation (5 years revocation if the previous offense occurred within five years of the current offense)
  • Point Accumulation: 12 points

Third DWI Offense in Missouri

  • Jail Time:  Maximum of seven years in prison
  • Fines: Up to $5,000 fine
  • License Suspension: 10-year license denial
  • Point Accumulation: 12 points

Point Accumulation System in Missouri

You will receive a point accumulation advisory letter from the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) if you accumulate 4 points in a span of 12 months.

The DOR will suspend your driving privilege if you accumulate eight or more points in 18 months. 

When you regain your driving privileges after a Point Suspension or Revocation, the DOR reduces your total points to four.

Every year you drive without accumulating new points on your record, your total points will be reduced.

Even though your points may be reduced to zero, certain convictions must remain on your Missouri driver record permanently.

Alcohol or Drug Test Refusal

The implied consent law in Missouri mandates submission to an alcohol or drug test if a law enforcement officer requests it. Refusal to take the test will result in license suspension for a year.

The arresting officer typically serves the initial refusal notice at the time of the arrest. If the officer fails to serve the notice, the DOR will do so by mail.

You may file a motion for review in the county’s circuit court, where you were arrested. If the court issues a stay order, you may continue driving until the case is resolved.

If the court upholds the arrest, you must serve any remaining time for the initial revocation period and meet the reinstatement requirements.

On the other hand, if the court decides to overturn the arrest, the revocation is canceled, and your license is returned.

When Can You Drink and Drive in Missouri?

Several factors can affect how people react to alcohol. The gender of a person is one factor that influences their blood alcohol level. Studies show that the BACs of men and women differ.

Men have much higher levels of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) than women. These enzymes are in charge of men’s fast metabolism of alcohol. Men, therefore, absorb alcohol more quickly than women.

If you’re unsure of how much alcohol you can lawfully drink before driving in Missouri, the information provided below may be of assistance.

The following information is backed by science. However, as everyone’s body reacts to alcohol differently, it could not apply to everyone.

How Many Bottles of Beers Can You Drink and Drive in Missouri?

Drink beer and drive in Missouri

A lighter person may have a greater BAC, according to BAC charts.

For instance, a male who weighs 180 pounds (82 kilos) may have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02% after drinking a 12-ounce (350 ml) beer.

However, a lady of comparable size who drinks the same amount of beer might have a BAC of 0.03%.

Limit your beer intake to one to two bottles to keep your BAC within Missouri’s legal limit.

How Many Glasses of Wine Can You Consume and Drive in Missouri?

A typical wine glass (5 oz/142 ml) has a maximum alcohol content of 12%.

One to two glasses of wine are enough to meet Missouri’s legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit.

How Much Whiskey or Vodka Can You Drink and Drive in Missouri?

The alcohol content in distilled spirits like vodka and whiskey is 40%.

Limit your consumption to one to two shots of distilled spirits if you intend to drive after drinking.

Sticking to DUI Laws in Missouri

There are a lot of myths about how drinking alcohol affects safe driving. All drivers should be aware of the dangers of DUI and take every precaution to avoid it.

Driving while impaired with alcohol or any other substance is not advised. Once alcohol enters your bloodstream, you lose control of yourself and your vehicle.

Even if you’ve only had a tiny quantity of alcohol, you shouldn’t assume that your blood alcohol level and driving skills are safe. If you’re drunk, you should think about using a different mode of transportation rather than operating a vehicle.

If you plan to drive after drinking, check your BAC to make sure it is below the allowed limit. A reliable alcohol breathalyzer can accurately calculate your blood alcohol content.

To learn more about state DUI regulations, visit 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.