Motorists who have been charged with driving while intoxicated have a series of deadlines that ensue the moment they receive their ticket from the police officer working their investigation. As a St. Charles DWI lawyer, I have to live by these deadlines, and they can be intimidating to those charged with DWI.
Drivers charged with DWI likely will notice their court date before noticing they are facing any other timelines. But there are a host of issues that the clock starts running on when a motorist gets charged. Even before the court date, DWI defendants get a white piece of paper from the officer along with his or her actual traffic tickets. That white piece of paper is a Department of Revenue form. Missouri's Department of Revenue is the state agency that deals with drivers' licenses.
The form will give DWI defendants information for appealing breathalyzer test results or will describe a process to go through if the driver refused the breath test. To stop the absolute loss of license for a year for refusing to blow, defendants must file a petition (or more likely, hire an attorney to file a petition) to stay the suspension. That must happen within 30 days from the date of the traffic stop. DWI defendants who fail breath tests must notify Department of Revenue they with to challenge the results within 15 days of the stop.
The form most notably informs the driver that he or she has 15 days from the traffic stop to drive if he or she takes no further action. The DOR form serves as the driver license for those 15 days. After that, DWI defendants who failed the breath test typically shall not drive for 30 days and then may drive only on a limited basis for the following 60 days. Prior offenders likely will have longer losses of driving privileges.
After the 15 days have passed from the date of the stop, and the at least 30 days of no driving privileges have passed, plus at least 60 days of limited driving privileges also have passed, DWI defendants must pay a reinstatement fee to DOR and also request their insurance companies forward information regarding SR-22 insurance coverage before a return to full driving privileges. They must also complete a SATOP drunk driving education course and send proof thereof to DOR.
Therefore, a failed breath test without more action on the administrative side requires at least 105 days to pass before full driving privileges are restored. And at that point, several requirements must be fulfilled to get a driver license returned at that 105-day mark. However, first time DWI defendants who refused a breath test many times face no loss of license and can even keep chemical contacts off their driving record.
Understand why it's important to not avoid deadlines. St. Charles Prosecutors take DWI very seriously. And they have a lot of experience in prosecuting this particular charge. St. Charles is uniquely situated in Missouri regarding DWI. It's a suburban county with a big population - more than 300,000 residents. Its low-density built environment makes mass transit and effective cab service nearly a nil option. Real transportation choices are limited almost exclusively to one's own vehicle. Thus, a St. Charles DWI lawyer typically has a host of clients at any given time who are facing DWI charges with hard deadlines that shouldn't be missed.
If you have further interest in the subject that is not addressed here, please read more about this topic at our other Show Me the Law blogs for further description and elucidation. Or contact an attorney for advice specific to your special situation and legal matter.
Bryan C. Edwards is a St. Charles DWI Lawyer and practices criminal defense law across the St. Louis metro area, including St. Charles County, St. Louis City and St. Louis County with a consortium of attorneys around the state of Missouri at www.showmelawyergroup.com.