DWI And Your Driver’s License

For many St. Louis area drivers, one of the most important questions following a DWI charge is whether they can keep driving. We drive to work. We drive to see family and friends. Many parents drive to take their children to and from school. Losing your Missouri Driver’s License to a suspension or revocation is serious business.

Our attorneys can advise you specifically on how your license will be impacted by your DWI charge. We can also advise you on what steps you need to take to fight a suspension or revocation of your Missouri Driver’s License. Below is our general advice and answers to frequently asked questions

15 DAYS TO ACT- CONTACT A LAWYER IMMEDIATELY!

Administrative Suspensions And Revocations

If you are charged with a DWI in Missouri, you have only 15 days act in order to avoid a disruption in your driving privilege! If you blow over the legal limit, you have only 15 days to request an administrative hearing. If you miss this deadline, there is no second chance. If you request an administrative hearing within 15 days, your lawyer can argue against a suspension or revocation at an administrative hearing. The police officer who arrests you should provide you with a form 2385, which also serves as your temporary driving privilege. Keep this form and provide it to your St. Louis DWI defense attorney.

A first offense of an administrative alcohol violation results in a 90 day suspension. After 30 days, you can become eligible for a Restricted Driving Privilege which will allow you to prepare for full reinstatement after 90 days.  If there is a second offense within five years, the result is a one year suspension. In many cases we can qualify driver’s for a Limited Driving Privilege, sometimes called a hardship license, to allow drivers to get to work and cover their essential needs in getting around.

Refusal Cases

If you refuse a breath or blood test, your license is revoked for one year unless you file a lawsuit to stop the revocation. You only get a 15 day temporary driving privilege in the meantime. The police officer who arrests you should provide you with a form 4323, which you should keep with you and provide to your St. Louis DWI defense attorney. Within that 15 day window, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and request a Stay Order, signed by a judge, that will allow you to continue driving. Your Stay Order will remain in effect until the challenge to your Driver’s License Revocation case is heard by a judge.

Implied Consent

When you get your Driver’s License in Missouri, you are actually giving “implied consent” that you will submit to a chemical test if you are suspected of a DWI. The statute is RSMo 302.574, or section 302.574 of the revised Missouri statutes.  If you refuse a breath, blood or urine test, the police officer making your arrest should provide you with a notice of revocation.

Just because you receive a notice or revocation, that does not mean you will receive a revocation. Our St. Louis DWI defense lawyers are skilled in challenging refusals and getting your driver’s license reinstated.

What Is A Trial De Novo?

If you request an administrative hearing and lose, you can appeal the hearing officer’s decision. By filing for a Trial De Novo, you can appeal your driver’s license case to a judge who will hear your case and can override the decision of the hearing officer.

What Is A Petition For Review?

A Petition for Review, often called a PFR by many lawyers, is a lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Revenue that challenges a driver’s license revocation for refusing to submit to a breath of other chemical test of your blood alcohol level (BAC). Filing a Petition for Review is an important first step in any DWI case that involves a refusal. After filing a Petition For Review, your lawyer will then request a Stay Order from a judge in the County where you were charged. The Stay Order allows you to keep driving until your case is heard.

What Types Of Issues Can My St. Louis DWI Defense Attorney Raise To Protect My License?

If you provided a breath test and the BAC result was over the .08 legal limit for alcohol in Missouri, there are two key issues to challenge. First, the police officer who arrested you is required to chow that he had probable cause to arrest you for DWI. Without probable cause, the arrest would be illegal. Most police officers build their probable cause by using Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) on the roadside to make a determination if they believe you are likely intoxicated. If your St. Louis DWI defense lawyer is successful in showing that there was no probable cause to arrest you, your driver’s license will be reinstated.

The second key issue to challenge is the breath test reading itself. Just because the breathalyzer device says your blood alcohol content was over the legal limit does not make it so. Our skilled St. Louis DWI lawyers request copies of the maintenance and verification records on the breathalyzer device. If we can show an error in the maintenance or calibration of the device, your driver’s license will be reinstated. We also challenge the manner in which the test is administered.

Here are some reasons we have won driver’s license hearings in the past:

  1. Unsigned police reports
  2. Police officer was not properly certified to perform a breath test
  3. No valid 15 minute observation period before the breath test
  4. Improper calibration of the breathalyzer
  5. Improper maintenance of the breathalyzer
  6. Failure by the police office to check the drivers mouth as required
  7. Invalid supplier of testing equipment for the breathalyzer

Missouri has many regulations which must be followed for a breath test to be considered accurate. These regulations are found in the Missouri State Code of Regulations, 19 CSR 25-30.

What Arguments Can Be Raised If I Refused a Breath Test?

Refusal arguments focus on two main issues. First, whether the police officer had reasonable grounds to arrest the driver for DWI. Second, whether the driver actually refused to take a chemical test. By attacking the reason for the arrest itself, we can discredit the police officers decision to arrest you in the first place. This often involves scrutinizing the manner in which the police officer administered sobriety tests. If the sobriety tests were poorly administered, the judge may agree that the police officer lacked probable cause to make an arrest.

If you ask for a lawyer before deciding whether to blow or submit to a blood or urine test, the police officer is required by law to provide you with a phone and 20 minutes to contact a lawyer for advice. If the police officer does not provide you with a proper opportunity to contact  lawyer after you request a lawyer, you may be able to win your refusal case.

The experienced St. Louis DWI defense lawyers at JCS law can request copies of both arrest video and video from the police station were you were booked. The police station video often records the officer reading you Missouri’s implied consent law, and requesting that you provide a breath of blood test. If the video shows that the officer failed to properly read the Missouri implied consent law, or that you did not actually refuse a test, you may also win your refusal case.

What Is A Confession Of The Petition?

In some Counties, including St. Louis County, Jefferson County, and St. Charles County, the attorney for the Department of Revenue will make a deal with our St. Louis DWI attorneys to allow your driver’s license to be reinstated after a refusal to blow. Lawyers refer to this deal as a “Confession of the Petition”. In exchange for community service hours and other conditions, usually including a guilty plea in your criminal DWI case, the attorney representing the Department of Revenue in your driver’s license case will agree to lose and allow for reinstatement of your license. For some clients, this can be a good outcome.

What If I Have A Commercial Driver’s License?

The experienced DWI attorneys at JCS Law vigorously defend the driving privileges of CDL holders. For CDL holders, your driver’s license is your livelihood. CDL holders cannot take chances with their driver’s licenses and should work with an experienced St. Louis DWI defense attorney. The same processes apply to challenging suspensions and revocations in the cases of CDL holders, but there are no offers to Confess the Petition. DWI charges against a CDL holder are more likely to go to trial, as federal law has an anti-masking statute that prohibits Missouri courts from giving SIS dispositions to CDL holders. Our attorneys seek to have charges against CDL holders reduced or dismissed at all costs. There is little room for compromise.

Act Now- Do Not Delay

Whether you have a general use driver’s license like most people, or a commercial license, driver’s licenses are serious business. Driving is how most of us get to work, take care of loved ones, and get around town. Talk to one of our St. Louis DWI defense attorneys today for a free consultation. Our attorneys can give you specific and personalized advice on what to do to protect your license if you have been accused of  DWI.

 

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