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What happens to your license following a DWI?

On Behalf of | Aug 14, 2023 | Criminal Defense

You could face several penalties if a Missouri court convicts you of driving while intoxicated (DWI). In most cases, you’ll have to pay a steep fine and serve some jail time.

But even before the court hearing, you could experience your first DWI penalty the moment an officer cites you for violating drunk driving laws. If during a traffic stop your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is above .08% or you refuse to undergo testing, the officer in charge can confiscate your driver’s license on the spot.

An officer can confiscate your license, whether it’s your first or fourth DWI charge. And depending on the circumstances, Missouri’s Department of Revenue will suspend or revoke your license.

The Administrative License Revocation procedure

Once an officer confiscates your license and charges you with DWI, your license goes through the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) procedure. Handled by the Department of Revenue, this administrative procedure determines whether your driving privileges are restored, or your license is suspended/revoked.

This procedure is separate from the judicial court hearing over your DWI charges. So, an ALR can suspend your license even if the court drops the DWI charge against you.

Challenging the ALR

When an officer confiscates your license for the ALR, you’ll be issued a temporary driving permit to use within a 15-day grace period. Within that time, you can request a hearing with the Department of Revenue to contest the ALR. Failure to challenge the ALR within those 15 days will lead to your license’s automatic suspension or revocation.

You have the option to participate in the hearing over the phone, but you can also have a legal professional represent you in an in-person hearing. During the hearing, the burden of proof falls on the state to justify the suspension or revocation of your license. And while it’s not a criminal court, this process can be as complicated and intimidating since licensed examiners will conduct the hearing.

To sum things up, your license is confiscated immediately after an officer charges you with DWI. And the process to determine the suspension/revocation of your license is separate from the court hearing over your DWI. Consider your legal options first if you plan to challenge an ALR process.