Drivers in Missouri understand that drinking and driving is a crime. However, they may be surprised to learn that an arrest for driving while intoxicated (DWI) triggers administrative penalties separate from the criminal process. A driver can even get their license suspended after a DWI even if the criminal charges are later dropped.
Losing your driving privileges is one of the most difficult parts of dealing with a DWI in Missouri. It is important to understand how a DWI arrest can lead to a suspended license, how to keep your license, and how to fight a criminal conviction. Your experienced Missouri DWI lawyer can challenge both the administrative license suspension and the criminal DWI charges. Contact the Joshua Wilson Law Firm with any questions or concerns you have about how a DWI can affect your license.
Administrative License Suspension After a DWI in Missouri
Under Missouri law, The Department of Revenue imposes a suspension or revocation of driving privileges based on a DWI arrest that is separate from the criminal process. The Department of revenue can take action against your license after an arrest where:
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) was over the legal limit; or
- You refuse to submit to a chemical BAC test.
The administrative action is imposed even if the ticket is disposed of in court or reduced to a lesser charge.
After a DWI arrest in Missouri, the police or law enforcement will generally take away your driver's license and provide a paper temporary permit. The temporary permit is only good for 15 days from the date of the notice if you do not request a hearing. After the permit expires, the driver's license will be effectively suspended by the Department of Revenue, even if the criminal case has not even gone to court.
To prevent an automatic license suspension, the driver or the driver's attorney has to request a hearing with the Department of Revenue to challenge the suspension.
What is an Administrative Review in Missouri?
The administrative review process goes through the Department of Revenue, not the criminal courts. There is a limited scope of review in these hearing, generally:
- Whether or not there was probable cause to believe the driver was operating in an intoxicated condition,
- Whether the driver's BAC was above the legal limit, or
- Whether the driver refused a chemical test.
Unfortunately, the administrative review examiner is not interested in why you need your license to get to work or why your license should not be suspended. The good news is that your Missouri DWI lawyer has experience handling these cases, understands how to challenge the suspension, and can represent you during these hearings so you don't have to take a day off of work to go to the Department of Revenue.
Request an Administrative Review Within 15 Days
Getting a review is not automatic. You have to formally request an administrative review within 15 days of the arrest or you will lose your chance to challenge the suspension. If you request a hearing, your suspension or revocation will be stayed until the hearing. There are two ways to request an administrative hearing.
File Your Own Hearing Request
On the Notice of Suspension or Revocation of Your Driving Privileges (Form 2385), there should be information included about how to request an administrative hearing. The form should also provide the deadline to file a request: 15 days from the Date Notice is Issued.
To request a hearing, the driver must complete and submit the “Request for Administrative Hearing” form within 15 days from the date of the notice. The driver can mail the request to the Missouri Department of Revenue, P.O. Box 475, Jefferson City, MO 65105-0475, or fax the request to: (573) 751-8115.
Let Your DWI Lawyer Deal with the Administrative Hearing
The simplest way to request a hearing and make sure that it gets done the right way is to contact your Missouri DWI lawyer. Your attorney is familiar with the courts, the Department of Revenue procedures, and timelines involved in the administrative license suspension process. You should contact your lawyer as soon as possible after a DWI arrest to make sure there is time to request the administrative review within 15 days.
DWI License Suspension Periods in Missouri
The license suspension periods for a DWI depend on the DWI charge, criminal record, and whether the driver refused a chemical BAC test. Generally, suspension periods for a DWI are as follows:
License Suspension Period
Second-Offense DWI (Within 5 years)
5-year license denial
10-year license denial
Alcohol/Drug Test Refusal
Restricted Driving Privileges After First DWI
Drivers may be eligible for a restricted license before the end of the suspension or revocation period. After a first-offense DWI, the driver may have two options for a restricted license:
- 90-day interlock restricted driving privilege, or
- 30-day suspension followed by 60-day restricted driving privileges.
The ignition restricted option may allow drivers to have limited driving privileges with an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on their vehicles. There is no mandatory suspension period with an IID restricted license, which allows for driving in connection with employment, education, court obligations, childcare, and other limited purposes.
A 30-day/60-day restriction requires the driver to wait 30 days before requesting a 60-day restricted driving privilege. This only allows for more limited driving in connection with employment, education, alcohol treatment, or ignition interlock services.
Missouri DWI Lawyer for Driving Privileges and Criminal Case
Legal representation for a DWI is unique in that it can involve both the criminal and administrative cases. These are separate types of hearings and require an understanding of how each system operates. Having a local DWI lawyer who understands how things work in your local Missouri criminal court and Department of Revenue hearing can be a great benefit in helping you keep your driving privileges and avoiding a criminal conviction.
Consult an Experienced Raymore DWI Attorney
The consequences of any DWI conviction can include a suspended or revoked license, making it difficult for you to get to work, school, or live a normal life. There is only a limited time to request a hearing to keep your license from being suspended. You must act quickly to have an opportunity to keep your driving privileges. Joshua Wilson is an experienced Missouri DWI attorney who can represent you throughout the administrative and criminal court process. Contact the Joshua Wilson Law Firm today online or by calling (816) 331-9968.