Driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence in the state of Missouri has become a more and more serious offense over the years. The complexity of these legal cases has made them a specialty practice area that stands all on its own. On top of the criminal ramifications involved with a DWI, your driving privileges may be affected as well. You could possibly lose your license for many years to come or indefinitely. After a Missouri DWI arrest, there will be two separate legal proceedings to happen against the driver. One will be a criminal proceeding, while the other will be an administrative proceeding. These legal proceedings can be difficult to get through alone. Gaining legal counsel from a reputable Missouri DWI attorney can make all the difference in your legal hearings and case.
What happens in a DUI hearing?
In the criminal proceeding that will take place, the prosecutor needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was operating their vehicle intoxicated, or with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08% or higher. Some states have different BAC legal limits, but .08% is the legal BAC of both Missouri and Kansas. In cases where the BAC test was recorded by the arresting officer, the prosecutor needs to show that the arrest was made with the proper probable cause to really think the driver was driving while intoxicated before the test was administered. The results of a DWI test may be challenged for multiple reasons. The test could have been improperly administered by the arresting officer. Another common argument is that the test is not reliable anyways. If the BAC test was refused, the grounds for the refusal can be admitted into court. However an experienced DWI attorney should be able to mitigate the test refusal by showing a lack of evidence on the prosecution’s part. For if there is no blood alcohol content recorded, then how can they prove the intoxication level of the driver. The defendants driving history will be looked at, and in some cases, losing a DWI case can result in the loss of the driver’s license. There are many more harsh consequences when it comes to dealing with a DWI arrest than just the suspension or revocation of one’s license.
The administrative proceeding is kept separate from the criminal prosecution, but generally takes place at the same time. The administrative proceedings’ main purpose is to suspend or revoke license of the driver. Depending on if the blood alcohol test was refused or not, this proceeding can go one or two different directions. If the driver does submit to the BAC test, the driver will first have the right to an administrative hearing. The revocation or suspension of the license does not go into effect until after the hearing officer has made his or her final decision. If the driver’s administrative hearing does not go well, the suspension will go into effect. The driver can appeal the hearing of the officer’s decision in circuit court. The hearing officer is directly employed by the Department of Revenue, so the odds are against the driver at this point in the process. However, remember that a skilled DWI attorney can subpoena the arresting officer and gain useful information to use for the defense strategy of the criminal proceeding.
On the opposite side, if the driver refuses the test, the suspension will need to be appealed to the circuit court via the form of a Petition For Review in the court of the county where the arrest took place. A judge or traffic court commissioner will hear the driver’s case. The Petition For Review will need to be filed within fifteen days of the notice of revocation. The notice of revocation is usually given to the driver at the time of the arrest. If the Petition for Review is not submitted by the deadline, the driver’s license revocation goes into effect. If more than thirty days passes after the Notice of Revocation, the driver will lose the ability to challenge the refusal altogether and lose their license for one year. The driver can usually keep their driving privileges during this period of this proceeding. However the driver must obtain a stay order from the court to be eligible to maintain driving privileges. At this hearing numerous issues can be brought up by the DWI attorney, such as whether the driver was properly under arrest, whether the driver was the one actually driving, and whether the implied consent warnings were properly read to the driver. Also the DWI attorney may ask if the driver was able to speak to an attorney, or if the officer actually received a known refusal. With so many different directions a case can twist and turn, it makes sense to seek the advice of a competent DWI attorney.
Meet with a Kansas City DWI Attorney to Discuss Your Case
The practice area of driving while intoxicated, and the laws surrounding it can be a complicated and ever changing system. The detailed legal process is filled with deadlines, defense strategies, and bewildering legal terms. Let our legal staff help to ease some of the stress and confusion that comes along with DWI cases. Hollingshead and Dudley, take pride in representing our Kansas City clients, and we tirelessly fight for our clients rights. If you do not act quickly following your arrest and miss your opportunity to request a hearing, you may lose your license indefinitely. We take a personalized approach to all of our client’s cases when building a solid defense that will fit both your legal goals and your budget. If you have recently been arrested for a Kansas City DWI, please call our office today for a private and free consultation.