Attorney Matt Jett
Driving After a DWI
In Missouri, if you are arrested for DWI and are asked to blow there are some serious consequences for blowing over .08% BAC. These consequences range from a 90-day suspension, to a lifetime ban, depending on several factors.
If you are ever asked to submit to a breath test for a DWI it is imperative that you request to speak to a St. Louis DWI Attorney before you decide whether or not to submit to the test. You must make this request to the police officer asking you to submit to the breath test. When properly requested, the officer must give you at least 20 minutes in which to contact a lawyer.
First Time Offenders (no prior alcohol-related contacts):
If you blow over .08%, (or over .02% if under 21) your penalty is a 90-day license suspension. The officer will confiscate your driver’s license after you blow and will issue you a temporary license form. The form is valid for 15 days and must be carried with you whenever you are driving. Your license will be suspended at the end of that time only if you don’t take any action! A St. Louis DWI Lawyer can fight to stop your license from being suspended, but only if action is taken during the 15 days while you are on the temporary permit.
When your lawyer takes action within the 15-day time limit, your license will remain valid (i.e.: you are legal to drive), and you will be given the opportunity to challenge the suspension at a hearing. If you win the hearing your license will be returned to you. If you lose the hearing your license will then become suspended. At that point there is still an opportunity to appeal the license suspension through a trial de-novo in the circuit court of the county in which you were arrested. You and your lawyer should have a discussion regarding the appeal process, and together you should determine whether or not your case should be appealed through the trial-de-novo process.
If your license is suspended, your suspension can vary based on whether or not you elect to have an ignition interlock device installed in your car during the suspension. Click here for more information regarding your options following an administrative alcohol suspension.
What if I blow under .08%?
If you blow under the legal limit your license will not be suspended, revoked, or otherwise affected by the breath test alone. However, there are situations where someone can still be charged, prosecuted, and convicted of DWI even if they blow under the limit. It is extremely important to hire a lawyer who is experienced in fighting DWI offenses if you are charged of a DWI regardless of whether or not you blew over the limit. If you are facing DWI charges, your license is on the line, period.
What happens if I refuse to blow?
If you refuse to blow, contrary to what the police tell you, your license will not “immediately” be revoked for one year. The officer will take your license from you, but they will also be required to issue you a 15-day temporary license. The revocation can be stopped if your lawyer takes action on your behalf. Speak to a lawyer right away to find out what can be done to save your license if you refused to blow after a DWI arrest.
For a first time offender, your license can remain valid beyond the 15 days that the refusal form indicates. In order to be able to drive legally, however, your lawyer will be required to file a civil case challenging the revocation. Additionally, your lawyer will have to request a document from the court to stop the Department of Revenue from revoking your license. The document is called a stay order, and you will keep it with you while you drive during the time your lawyer is fighting to get the revocation resolved for you.
DWI offenses have serious consequences for Missouri drivers. It is best to never risk drinking and driving, not only for your safety and the safety of others, but also because the penalties are harsh. If you have been charged with a DWI, however, it is important to take action immediately in order to preserve your rights. Whether you feel you were under the influence or sober, if you have been charged with a DWI, hiring an experienced attorney to fight for you should be the first step you take.