A DWI/DUI is both a criminal and a civil (administrative) charge that may affect you for many years. It begins when you are stopped by a law enforcement officer who believes you are driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. Legally, there is no difference between DWI and DUI in Missouri. If you have been ticketed or arrested for DWI/DUI, it is critical for you to act quickly and retain an attorney to ensure your rights are fully protected.
When the officer gives you your ticket, he will take your license. He should give you paperwork showing that you have a 15 day “grace period” during which you can drive legally while you look for legal representation. However, at the end of that 15 days, your license to operate a motor vehicle in Missouri will be automatically suspended unless you file an appeal.
You must appeal the suspension of your driver’s license within 15 days of the date of the ticket or you may have waived many of your rights. If you fail to request a hearing, a suspension or revocation of your driver’s license begins on the 15th day following your arrest – and is considered a final determination by the Director of the Department of Revenue.
The better process is to hire an attorney within those 15 days and have your attorney immediately request the administrative hearing to which you are entitled. We are able to assist you with this.
If you lose your license, you will need to comply with the reinstatement procedures of the Department of Revenue. This may include completing a SATOP class, obtaining an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, obtaining SR22 insurance, and paying a reinstatement fee. You may also need to re-take the driver’s examination.
How long will your license be gone if you simply skip this step and do not hire an attorney? 90 days for first time DWI offenses, 1 year if it’s your second DWI and your first one was more than 5 years ago, up to 5 years if you are on your second DWI in 5 years, and if you have more than 2 DWIs, then 10 years.
The good news is that even though you may have consequences to your driver’s license, we can help you in determining if you qualify for a restricted driving privilege. You need to discuss your specific situation with your attorney so we can pursue a restricted driving privilege for you immediately.
The State of Missouri is extremely serious about DWI. Your driver’s license may be negatively impacted even if your attorney is successful in defeating the DWI criminal charge.
The Criminal Action (the part that required you to be fingerprinted) will be pursued by the prosecutor in the jurisdiction where the ticket was issued. The level of your charge will depend on how many prior contacts you have had with the criminal justice system, and how many prior DWI offenses you have had. You should be honest with your attorney about your past.
We will obtain information from the prosecutor relating to your case to evaluate your defenses and discuss them with you. We work to protect your rights at every step of this DWI journey. Your attorney will carefully review all of the information and work to minimize any adverse consequences to you. Some of the consequences on the criminal side of the DWI may be: jail time, supervised probation, alcohol treatment classes, substantial fines, loss of employment, inability to travel internationally – including to Canada, possible deportation if you are not a US citizen, and a significant rise in your insurance premiums.
Should you blow? The law in Missouri is that you have given consent to be tested for the presence of alcohol in your body. If you refuse to blow, your driver’s license will be revoked for one year. In addition, if you refuse to blow, the officer may seek to draw your blood. You will have a much harder case and be treated much more severely by the prosecutor if your blood alcohol content is over .15.
Under-Age Drivers: If you are under the age of 21 years and are stopped for DWI/DUI, the limit is .02 (it’s .08 for those over 21 years, but CDL holders beware: your limit is .04). If you are under 21 years old and blow over .02, or are simply in possession of alcohol (or drugs), you will lose your license for a year. You need to contact an attorney immediately.
Expungement of prior DWI convictions: We can help you with cleaning up your record. If you have only one DWI conviction and it is 10 or more years old, give us a call.
Remember: if you are ever stopped for a DWI/DUI, you HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. The right to remain silent is NOT AN INVITATION TO TALK. The exchange with the law enforcement officer should remain brief and polite on your part.
The take away needs to be this: DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE. MISSOURI IS SERIOUS ABOUT THIS.
But, if you do, call us immediately. We will work to protect your rights.
To make an appointment, please call us at 816-256-5440.
We are available to help you with your family law or estate planning needs in the following Missouri counties: Platte, Clay, Jackson, Buchanan, Andrew, Clinton, DeKalb, Holt, Nodaway and Ray.
We are available to help you with your family law or estate planning needs in the following Kansas counties: Leavenworth, Wyandotte, and Johnson.
Kiske Law Office, LLC
10525 N. Ambassador Dr.
Kansas City, MO 64153
Kiske Law Office, LLC
1911 Jules St.
St. Joseph, MO 64501
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Office hours: Monday-Thursday 9 am – 5 pm and Friday 9 am – 3 pm
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