*YOU HAVE 15 DAYS FROM YOUR ARREST TO ACT ON SAVING YOUR DRIVERS LICENSE*
The average working American spends 396 hours per year driving. With groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and hundreds of other special interests groups lobbying our politicians to make DWI laws in Missouri more strict you may have become the victim of circumstance.
Arrested for a DWI? You need to speak with a lawyer right away. We can help you keep your driving privileges and prevent a criminal record. DWI is a serious charge. You can lose your license and even face jail time if you go unrepresented. Many DWI charges can be defeated in court. Is it worth it to fight the charge? Absolutely. Your freedom and privilege to drive in the future are at stake.
There are two parts to a DWI charge. In essence, there are two cases you need represented in.
CASE ONE: The Department of Revenue and the Fight for Your Driver’s License
In Missouri, when you get a driver’s license you impliedly consent to a breath test. This test is a chemical test which checks for intoxication (Breath. Blood, Urine). In the event you are stopped by a police officer and that officer has reasonable grounds to believe that you have been operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, you are required by law to take the test or face a license suspension.
If you refuse to submit to the test, your license may be revoked for up to one year on a first time offense. At the time of your arrest/refusal you will receive a REFUSAL TO SUBMIT TO ALCOHOL/DRUG TEST NOTICE OF REVOCATION OF YOUR DRIVING PRIVILEGE 15 DAY DRIVING PERMIT (Missouri Form 4323), The law enforcement officer will also take your drivers license at this time. You have 30 days from that date to file for a Petition for Review (PFR) with the Circuit Court of the county of your alleged offense. While you have 30 days, we recommend filing within 15 days, so that we may attempt to get a Stay Order signed by a judge allowing you to continue to drive until your case is heard. These are not simple court filings and it is not recommended you attempt them without an attorney.
If you submit to the test but fail (your blood alcohol concentration shows as 0.08 % or greater or 0.02 % or greater for persons under 21), you will receive a NOTICE OF SUSPENSION/REVOCATION OF YOUR DRIVING PRIVILEGES (Missouri Form 2385). This is your temporary driving permit for 15 days until your suspension goes into affect, also serving as a 15 day period to request an administrative hearing to challenge this suspension. Hiring an attorney is very critical for this hearing, as the Department of Revenue will only allow you to challenge very specific items to overturn your suspension. [Please note: Your suspension period may be longer if you have had a prior DWI or Point Violations in the past five years.]
If the hearing is decided in your favor, the suspension/revocation is thrown out and your license is returned. If you lose the hearing, you can then challenge the finding by filing a Petition for Trial De Novo in the Circuit Court. In the meantime you will face a 30 day suspension followed by a 60 day limited driving privilege. If you win your criminal court case, your license is returned and your record is cleared.
Recently a new option has become available where even if you lose your hearing or choose not to request a hearing, you can continue to drive electing to apply for an Immediate Restricted Driving Privilege (RDP). This option requires that you have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your vehicle and purchase an SR-22 insurance policy, all within 10 days of a special notice from the Department of Revenue. Consult with an attorney prior to making any decision on which option to take.
CASE TWO: The Criminal Charge
Separate from the license suspension or revocation is the criminal charge for driving while intoxicated (DWI). The criminal charge can carry with it jail time. In Missouri, it is illegal for a person to operate a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated or drugged condition. The penalty for a first time DWI typically includes possible jail time, 8-12 points on your license, fine, suspension, community service, SATOP classes and requirement to carry SR-22 insurance. An aggressive defense can help you avoid some or even all of these penalties.
To avoid the penalties for a DWI conviction, we can arrange for a plea bargain or fight your case in court. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest and the strength of the evidence against you, we will recommend either a plea bargain or a trial. Our goal is to protect your record and protect your driving privileges.
Good people make mistakes, and overzealous police officers can make lots of mistakes which may lead to criminal charges being dropped. We passionately represent the accused. Call us now for a free consultation at 314-561-9690.