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Answering Your Questions about DWI in Missouri

At the Civella Law Firm, in St. Louis County, I have over 16 years of experience helping individuals who have been charged with DWI. Here are a few answers to the questions most frequently asked by clients who are facing driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact my office.

What Happens After an Arrest?

There are two different actions that result from a DWI arrest: a criminal case and an administrative case. The criminal case exposes you to a fine, conviction, and possible jail sentence. The administrative case involves suspension of your driver’s license. There are time limits to challenge your license suspension. Waiting too long to fight these charges could affect your ability to protect your rights.

What Will Happen to My License?

A revocation can be imposed if you blow above the .08% legal limit, or if you refuse chemical testing, or if you are convicted of DWI in the criminal proceeding.

How Long Will My License Be Suspended?

First of all, you should know it is my goal to save your driving privileges. First time offenders face losing their driving privileges, serving a one-year revocation for refusing the breath test, and a 90 day suspension for blowing over the legal limit. Restricted Driving Privileges are available after 30 days in a breath case, and 90 days in a refusal case. Prior alcohol offenses or suspensions on record could affect these suspension periods.

What Are The License Reinstatement Requirements?

Upon serving the required suspension period, the Department of Revenue requires the following for license reinstatement:

1. A $45.00 reinstatement fee

2. An SR-22 insurance filing

3. Proof of completion of the Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program (SATOP)

Note: If your license has expired during the suspension period, you must retake and pass all licensing examinations.

Do I Have to Take a Blood Alcohol Content Test?

Although certain advantages exist in legal proceedings when you refuse chemical testing, Missouri law does require that you submit to chemical testing when requested by a law enforcement officer. A refusal to take the test results in an automatic one-year revocation of your license. Upon refusal, the officer will take possession of your license and issue you a temporary 15 day permit. If the court upholds the refusal revocation, you will be required to serve out the one-year refusal revocation and then will be required to meet the terms for reinstatement, referenced above. As your attorney, it is my goal to save your license from being revoked.

What Is BAC?

BAC (blood alcohol content) is a measure of alcohol in the blood and can be measured by testing a person’s blood, breath, urine, or saliva. A person’s weight, gender, food intake, alcohol consumption rate and other factors affect the absorption of alcohol.

It is a science and the machines that determine the BAC level must meet DOH criteria. Failure to meet this criteria could cause the BAC result to be thrown out. Therefore, a thorough examination of breath maintenance, records, current operator and machine certifications are an important part of DWI representation. Although many lawyers will not examine this material, I assure you that I will.

Did You Know?

  • Diabetes, dentures, and some forms of dieting can contaminate a breath sample.
  • Certain allergy medications have been known to contaminate a breath sample.
  • Running a fever can contaminate a breath sample.
  • In Missouri, the arresting officer has to observe you for 15 minutes before you submit a breath sample to assure there is no oral intake of any nature.

I hope that this page has been useful in answering some of you DWI questions. If you have further questions or are in need of representation, please contact me to schedule a confidential consultation by calling 314-727-2886 or filling out my online contact form. My office is open Monday through Friday, from 9 am until 5 pm, but I schedule flexible office hours by appointment.