The DWI arrest process is a frightening and degrading. Everyone knows that drinking and driving is wrong, but not everyone who is arrested is guilty of driving while intoxicated. Our first goal in all DWI cases is to evaluate the case, look for weakness in the state or municipality's case, and attempt to win an acquittal in criminal and further, to win the administrative hearing (.08 Administrative Suspension). If, after we have obtained all of the evidence in a case and upon review it appears that the state or municipality has a very strong case, we are honest with our clients and try and help them through the process in the most economical way.
.08 Cases": Breath Test Over the Legal Limit. When an individual is stopped and arrested upon probable cause that they were driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit, he or she has two big problems (at least):
Problem #1: He will face criminal alcohol law charges in either municipal or state court. If there is a conviction in court, the court clerk will send a copy of the conviction to the Missouri Department of Revenue Driver's License Bureau. The driver will receive points and the individual's driving privilege will either be suspended or revoked depending on the number of points that accumulate as a result of the conviction.
Problem #2: There is an "administrative procedure" that involves an automatic license suspension or revocation (unless an appeal is filed and won through an Administrative Hearing or Trial De Novo process). So, even if the driver is able to solve problem #1 and obtain an acquittal, reduction of the charge, or even probation, he must deal with the administrative suspension action against him, or he will be automatically suspended and a mark will appear on his driving record, possibly for life.
The time limitations for taking action in the administrative appeal process are relatively short (15 days to request an administrative hearing), so it is imperative if you or someone you know has been arrested get in touch with an attorney at the Lake Ozark DWI & Traffic Law Center.
Breath Test Refusal Cases. Again, when a person is arrested and charged with DWI and has allegedly refused to submit to a chemical test, he or she has two problems: (1) the criminal charges; and (2) driver's license action that can result in a revocation of his or her driving privilege.
As to the criminal charges, if an individual is convicted, the court will notify the Driver's License Bureau, points will be assessed and there will be a suspension or revocation depending on the individual's driving record.
As to the Breath Test Refusal penalty, a driver faces a one-year revocation of the driver's license.
To the accused it may seem hopeless to try and fight the breath test refusal allegation, i.e. "take the breath test...", "no thank you", followed by an automatic revocation, however, there are many facts and circumstances that come into play during the arrest process that can violate the rights of the accused driver.
An individual facing a revocation for refusing to take a breath test has the right to file a Petition for Review in the Circuit Court of the county of the arrest and obtain a hearing before his or her license can be revoked. In the interim, the driver may be able to obtain a Stay Order from the Court that will allow him or her to drive to and from work during the pendency of the review of his case. It is important that the proper paperwork be filed by the defendant's counsel immediately after the arrest or the Driver's License Bureau will move forward with action to revoke the driver's driving privilege. In these cases, time is of the essence.
Once a Petition for Review has been filed, your attorney may be able to resolve the entire case, i.e. the criminal charges of DWI and the Breath Test Refusal case together through a negotiated plea with the Prosecuting Attorney. If there is to be a plea bargain of any sort there will most certainly be Alcohol and Drug Education classes, probation, high fines and other severe sanctions even if cases of first offenders. After all, the Prosecutor's motivation is not only to punish drunk driver, but also to make sure the behavior is not repeated, and there is a school of thought that the best way to do this is to educate the driver, counsel him, and where necessary to monitor the driver through probation and alcohol ignition interlock devices.
At Lake Ozark DWI & Traffic Law Center our attorneys want to help our clients through this very difficult time. If an individual has been wronged by the arresting officer, we are very well prepared in terms of experience and legal expertise to set the record straight. If a driver acknowledges that he has made a mistake and simply wishes to get through the process in the most economical manner, we understand that goal as well. Our job is not only to get our clients out of trouble, but to help them keep out of trouble.
Lake Ozark DWI & Traffic Law Center lawyers are licensed in Missouri.
If you need a DWI lawyer, call the Lake Ozark DWI & Traffic Law Center at 573-302-0897.
For more DWI information in Missouri, visit the Missouri Department of Revenue's website here.
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