Missouri DWI Laws chapter 577 states that it is against the law for any person to operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle while intoxicated due to the consumption of alcohol, drugs, intoxicants or any combination thereof with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater.
Even if an individual does not show any signs of impairment due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs, but has a BAC or blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater they will be arrested for DWI in Missouri. It should be noted that you could still be arrested for DWI in Missouri even if your BAC level was below .08% just by displaying signs of impairment that are consistent with DWI.
Even before initiating a DWI stop on a potential suspect an officer is already starting to establish probable cause by starting to observe your driving behavior prior to being stopped. The officer is going to be looking at certain things like swerving within your lane, crossing the lane markers, making wider than normal turns, going excessively slower or faster than the posted speed limit.
Once the officer initiates the DWI stop he will continue to observe your behavior and mannerisms all in an attempt to establish probable cause. If the officer is able to establish probable cause through either his observations before and during the stop or by you failing any part of the field sobriety tests (if you submitted to them) or by failing a preliminary breath test (if you submitted to one) you will be arrested for driving while intoxicated in Missouri.
It should be noted that you are not required by law to submit to the field sobriety tests, you must, however, submit to a chemical test per Missouri's implied consent law. If an officer requests that you submit to a chemical test and you refuse, the officer is required to inform you of the penalty for test refusal and he must then ask you again if you will submit to a chemical test.
Whether you failed any part of the field sobriety tests or failed or refused to submit to a chemical test the arresting officer will confiscate your driver's license and issue you a Notice of Suspension/Revocation of driving privileges along with issuing you a temporary permit that will allow you to drive for 15-days from the date of the arrest.
The officer will then forward your license along with an Alcohol Influence Report Form, the Notice of Suspension/Revocation and any evidence the officer has collected against you to the Department of Revenue. Once this happens you will only have 15 days in which to request an administrative hearing with the Department of Revenue if you hope to contest the suspension/revocation of your license and possible retain your driving privileges.
You are going to want to hire a Missouri DWI lawyer who has experience with the administrative hearing process and has represented clients at these hearings if you want to try and avoid the suspension or revocation of your driver's license. Most lawyers will charge around $400 - $500 to represent a client at an administrative hearing. This cost could be small in comparison to the wages you could lose during your suspension period if you are not able to get to work.
Failure to request an administrative hearing within 15 days from the date of the suspension will mean that the suspension will be upheld and you will not be able to request an administrative hearing after this time period. When you request an administrative hearing, the Department of Revenue is more than likely going to schedule you for a telephone hearing, you do not want a telephone hearing, you want an in person hearing.
In most cases the arresting officer will not be present at the hearing because the information that he forwarded to the Department of Revenue is usually sufficient to serve as the officer's testimony in your case. An experienced DWI lawyer is more than likely going to request that the arresting officer be subpoenaed to appear so that your lawyer has an opportunity to question the officer about the arrest in an attempt to find holes in the officer's case against you that your lawyer can use during your criminal trial.
The way an administrative hearing works is that the hearing officer will review all of the evidence presented against you by the arresting officer and then hear testimony from the arresting officer under oath (if present). You and your lawyer will then present any evidence you have collected in your favor and the hearing officer will hear testimony, under oath from you and/or your lawyer and any witnesses that your lawyer has subpoenaed to appear.
After reviewing all of the evidence and hearing all testimonies the hearing officer will make the final decision as to whether or not the arresting officer established probable cause in your case and followed proper procedure during the stop and the arrest.
If the hearing officer rules in your favor, your license will be reinstated, if the hearing officer determines that the evidence against you justifies the officer's suspension of your license, the suspension will be upheld.
If the suspension is upheld you may be eligible for a limited driving permit if you meet all of the requirements outlined by the Department of Revenue including showing proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Missouri SR22 insurance policy.
A Missouri first offense DWI is a Class B Misdemeanor offense and carries the following fines and penalties:
A person convicted of a second DWI offense in Missouri within 5-years of a previous conviction is classified as a "prior offender" which is a Class A Misdemeanor offense. The fines and penalties for a second offense are as follows:
A person convicted of a third DWI offense in Missouri within 10-years of two previous convictions is classified as a "persistent offender" which is a Class D Felony offense. The fines and penalties for a third offense are as follows:
A person convicted of a fourth DWI offense in Missouri is classified as a "aggravated offender" which is a Class C Felony offense. The fines and penalties for a fourth offense are as follows:
A person operating a commercial motor vehicle in the state of Missouri while intoxicated due to the consumption of alcohol, drugs or an intoxicant with a blood alcohol concentration of .04% or greater or failing to submit to a chemical test will be arrested for DWI and your CDL will be revoked for a period of 1-year following a first offense violation.
If you were carrying hazardous materials at the time, your CDL will be revoked for 3-years. A second offense violation will result in a permanent CDL revocation, you will never be able to drive or operate a CMV again. A CMV operator stopped and found to have any measurable amount of alcohol less than .04% in their system will be issued an "out-of-service" notice and will not be allowed to drive for the next 24-hours.
A first offense violation of Missouri's "zero tolerance" law for anyone under 21 years of age will result in your license being suspended for 30 days. A second violation of Missouri's zero tolerance law under the age of 21 will result in your license being suspended for 90 days.
A third or subsequent violation while under 21 years of age will result in your license being suspended for an entire year. If you are under 21 and you register a blood alcohol concentration level of .08% or greater you will also be facing the same fines and penalties as someone over the age of 21 would face.
Before the Missouri Department of Revenue will reinstate your license following your suspension period or before issuing a Limited license, they will require you to file an SR22 form with them before issuing you a new license. You will be required to carry your SR22 insurance for a period of 2-years.
At anytime during this 2-year period if there is a lapse in your Missouri SR22 insurance coverage, your insurance provider is obligated by law to immediately inform the Department of Revenue of the lapse. If a lapse in coverage occurs, the Missouri Department of Revenue will immediately suspended your license and you will be required to re-file an SR22 form with the Department of Revenue before they will issue you another license. This will also mean that your 2-year required SR22 filing period will start over.
Since you are going to have to have your SR22 insurance for a period of 2-years, it is important to find the cheapest policy you can before choosing one. DUI Process has partnered with the largest and most trusted SR22 insurance provider in the state of Missouri and has worked out a special discount only available here for our website visitors.
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