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Multiple DWIs can lead to a felony, but you do have rights

Seeing red and blue flashing lights in your rear view mirror can be a scary sight. That's because most people aren't entirely familiar with the subtle nuances of a traffic stop or the laws surrounding them. More to the point, it's this lack of understanding that can lead to missteps on the road to justice, perhaps even leading to an undeserved conviction.

One way to protect yourself from a wrongful conviction is to seek the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Their expertise has been cited in a number of cases as the reason why charges were dropped or a person's innocence was effectively proven. Although obtaining an attorney is an added expense, they are considered by most to be a necessary but welcomed expense, especially because they can make all the difference in some cases.

Another thing that can greatly help someone defend themselves against criminal charges is knowing their rights. Take for example a traffic stop in which you are accused of drunk driving. Most people assume that they can only be charged with a DWI if that was the reason for the stop. Here in Missouri, any traffic stop can result in a DWI charge if the officer suspects intoxication during the course of the stop.

You also have rights when it comes to Breathalyzer tests. Although you technically do have the right to refuse a breath test , you should know that refusing to take this test can lead to an arrest and a court order that allows your blood to be drawn at a hospital. This has become a hot-button topic here in Missouri because it raises questions about the protection of the Fourth Amendment, which is a conversation you may want to have with your lawyer if you find yourself in the same situation.

Most importantly though is knowing your rights concerning your criminal history and how it will impact future convictions. Here in Missouri, there is a "no limit look back" rule when it comes to DWI convictions, meaning even if you received a conviction more than a decade ago, it can still affect a current DWI conviction -- perhaps even leading to a felony DWI.

Knowing these rights might be difficult without the help of a lawyer, which is why you will want to contact Harper, Evans, Wade & Netemeyer if you find yourself facing a possible felony DWI charge.

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