Written by: Christopher Yotz
If you are charged with DWI/DUI for the first time ever in Missouri hire an attorney as quickly as possible. I know this sounds self serving but it is for your own good. There are two cases occurring simultaneously around a charge for DWI, the criminal case where the state claims that you committed the crime of Driving While Intoxicated and the civil administrative case that involves your ability to drive in Missouri. A DWI/DUI can automatically suspend your license without regard to what may occur in the criminal case. Such a suspension happens quickly and often before you ever appear in court on the criminal case. This is why you need to hire a lawyer quickly.
If you are charged with Driving While Intoxicated due to alcohol and you voluntarily gave a valid breath or blood sample you will only have 15 days to file a request for hearing to contest the administrative suspension of your license. During that first 15 days you should continue to be legally allowed to drive if you are otherwise eligible. If you have not made a valid request for a hearing to contest your administrative suspension within that 15 day window then your license will automatically be suspended for 90 days and you will not be able to contest the suspension. If you have made a valid request for the administrative hearing on your license suspension then your ability to drive should continue until after the hearing has occurred. Again, this happens only if you are otherwise eligible.
If the arresting officer claims that you refused to give a valid breath or blood sample then you may be looking at a 1 year suspension of your license. In this case you must file a civil law suit in the county where you were arrested. This suit is filed against the Missouri Department of Revenue and requests that the court order the Department to reinstate your license. You have 30 days to file this suit but just like above you only have a temporary 15 day permit to drive after being arrested for DWI/DUI. Therefore, if you don’t file this suit within 15 days of being arrested then you would not be legally allowed to drive unless or until something else happens to get that privilege back. An attorney may be able to get you a continued temporary permit to drive as part of this civil suit that may last until the final hearing on this case occurs.
If you are suspended for one of the reasons above then at some point you may be eligible for some form of limited privilege to drive. This topic will likely be covered more later in this blog. This is something to discuss with your attorney if you find yourself being administratively suspended for DWI/DUI.
*I realize after re-reading this post that it is very dry. This is an unfortunate byproduct of writing about legal issues. Dry begets dry.