FIRST DWI CHARGE AND YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE IN ST. PETERS
If you have received a first DWI charge in St. Peters you should read this article to learn about what can happen to your license and what can happen in court. That’s because in Missouri, a DWI charge is essentially two separate cases.
The first case is an administrative case and deals with your license and whether it will be lost, suspended or revoked.*
The second case is the case for the crime of a first DWI, i.e. the criminal case resolved in the court where the case was filed. For most first DWI cases, that case will be in the municipal court of the city issuing the ticket. Or if your first DWI charge Missouri was ticketed by a sheriff, most likely in the county municipal court.
Let’s review a quick example: Say Sam Speedy gets pulled over in St. Peters by a St. Peters police officer. He’s charged with DWI and speeding. Because it’s his first ever DWI charge, his case will be heard in St. Peters Municipal Court. His administrative case will be heard in an administrative review, which just happens to be held in the St. Charles Municipal Court.
What happens to my license when I am charged?
Whether or not you provided a breath test sample (or samples) when you were taken to the police station, before you are released they will take away your Missouri driver’s license and issue a 15 Day Temporary Driving Permit.
You can see what one looks like here: https://dor.mo.gov/forms/2385.pdf
The Temporary Driving Permit (Form 2385) is in fact your driver’s license for the following 15 days.
Under Missouri law, however, if you do not request an administrative hearing within 15 days of the date of your arrest for DWI, your license is automatically suspended for 90 days.
It is almost always in your best interest to hire a DWI lawyer St. Peters who will contest the loss of your license in an administrative hearing. First, your attorney may be able to prove that there was no probable cause for the stop.
And during the time that case is pending, your license suspension will be stayed, i.e. your license will not be suspended. Therefore, you can get your ducks in a row with transportation in the event you eventually lose your DWI administrative hearing.
In most cases, requesting an administrative hearing will preserve your driving privilege for at least 45 day. That’s because the administrative hearing will not usually be scheduled before then. In many cases, it will be scheduled farther out than that and in only a few cases would it be less than that.
Your DWI lawyer near me can also generally re-schedule administrative hearings as a matter of right one time.
What happens at the administrative hearing?
The only issue to be determined by the administrative judge at the administrative hearing is whether the officer had probable cause to pull you over and if they followed proper procedures after the stop. Your attorney can subpoena the officer(s) who pulled you over and question as to the reason for the stop.
Should your attorney be able to prove that they didn’t have a valid reason for the stop (did not have probable cause), you will keep your license.
If you lose your administrative hearing, your license is suspended about 15 days after the administrative judge makes his or her ruling.
If I lose my license what happens?
Your license is suspended by the Missouri Department of Revenue for 90 days. During the first 30 days you cannot drive at all. However, you can request a limited driving privilege in Missouri for the remaining 60 days of suspension. If granted, you can drive to and from work and/or school, to medical appointments or to attend a substance abuse program.
What about losing my license after a second or third DWI in Missouri?
For a second DWI, that depends on how close it was in relation to the first DWI. If the second DWI is within five (5) years of the first, your license can be revoked for up to 5 years. A third conviction can result in a ten (10) year loss revocation.
Why should I hire a DWI lawyer near me?
The consequences of a DWI conviction are severe. Remember that a charge, however, is not the same as a conviction. Officers often don’t follow proper procedure. This can be proven via a combination of their testimony and their completed police report. The narrative in the report is often very informative regarding the stop.
An experienced DWI lawyer knows how to extract that testimony from the officer and can review all of the documentation related to the stop.
I’ve personally saved client’s licenses from being suspended by seeing improperly completed documentation before the hearing. I’ve also discovered weaknesses in the handling of the stop at the scene.
As I tell clients, if the police did their jobs correctly, it’s often hard to beat a DWI charge. However, you’ll never discover this without experienced legal help.
Have a job where you must have a car? Do you value your freedom to travel around in a car? The loss of your license stemming from a DWI charge St. Charles County can be incredibly scary. You do have rights, however, and the loss of the license is only automatic if you do nothing.
* For the purpose of this article we are only talking about your driver’s license when a breath test sample is provided by the driver, the sample is over .08 BAC and the driver does not hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and not when the driver refuses to provide a breath test, commonly referred to as a separate charge called a Refusal To Provide A Breath Test.