Every DWI involves two very important, yet distinct cases. One involves the criminal prosecution of the defendant, and the other one involves the administrative action against the motorist’s driver’s license.
If you have been charged with a DWI, you are entitled to an administrative hearing in front of the Department of Revenue. There are two forms of an administrative hearing. The form of administrative hearing that you receive depends on whether or not you provided a chemical sample.
In Missouri, if a driver refuses to provide a chemical sample in violation of the Missouri Implied Consent Law, the driver’s license may be revoked for one year. To challenge the revocation, a driver must file a Petition for Review with the state court in the county where the arrest took place. A circuit court judge will typically hear the case. A Petition for Review must be filed within 30 days of receipt of the Notice of Revocation or the driver will be forever barred from challenging the revocation and will begin serving his or her 1 year revocation.
If the driver provided a chemical sample, the driver or his or her attorney must request an administrative hearing with the Department of Revenue. The administrative hearing will initially be heard by a Department of Revenue hearing officer. If the hearing officer decides to uphold the license suspension, the driver may file a Petition for Trial De Novo in state court. It will then be up to the judge if the license suspension will be upheld or overturned.
The criminal aspect of a DWI case proceeds in the same manner as any other criminal charge. To be convicted for DWI, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Contrary to popular belief, there is no requirement in Missouri that the driver be “over the legal limit” to be convicted of DWI. Rather, the driver need only be “under the influence.” In some instances, driving under the influence could occur at a BAC lower than .08 for some individuals or could occur as a result of drug use.
At Henderson Law Group, we handle cases ranging from a first-time DWI offense to felony DWI cases throughout Missouri and Illinois. Our experienced DWI lawyers understand this complex area of law, and know what steps to take to protect your rights. We will work tirelessly to obtain the best possible result for you. Contact us today for a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.