Can your driver’s license be suspended even if you were cleared of criminal charges for driving while intoxicated? In Missouri, the answer might be “yes.” That is because driver’s license suspensions and revocations are managed in both criminal and administrative forums. Reversing a license suspension that was precipitated by DWI charges may require more effort than you would initially imagine.
What happens after I am arrested?
First, you need to understand the administrative process associated with license suspension. When you are first arrested, the arresting officer completes an information packet that includes several forms. Among these are the Alcohol Influence Report form, along with a complaint and summons, a notice of suspension or revocation and your physical license if it was seized.
What are my next steps?
Drivers have just 15 days from the issuance of the notice of suspension form to request an administrative hearing to save their license. The hearing will be facilitated by the Department of Revenue, and it may be held over the phone or in person. Administrative records are generally used during the hearing, although the arresting officer is sometimes called upon to testify. This hearing will determine whether you are permitted to keep your license.
How severe are the penalties?
If your license was suspended during the past five years for an alcohol-related offense, you could have your license revoked for up to a year. If you do not have any prior convictions or suspensions, a 90-day suspension will be imposed. You do not necessarily have to be subject to these penalties, however, if you use proper legal strategy during your administrative hearing. You should not have to suffer the penalties for DWI conviction even though you were not found guilty of driving while intoxicated.
Source: Missouri Department of Revenue, “Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)” Sep. 23, 2014