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Will I Have a Suspended License After a DWI?

When you find yourself facing an arrest for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol (commonly referred to as a DUI or DWI), it’s essential to understand that the state of Missouri takes this matter seriously and initiates two distinct actions: (1) Criminal and (2) Administrative.


The first part of the equation involves the criminal aspect of a DWI arrest. This is where you will deal with the legal consequences of your actions, which can be daunting. Drunk or drugged driving is considered a criminal offense in Missouri and comes with its own legal proceedings.

The criminal aspect will determine if you are convicted for the offense under the criminal statute. A conviction can result in jail time, fines, community service, and substance abuse program requirements. If convicted, the court will send the conviction to the Missouri Department of Revenue for points to be added to your license. The DOR can impose a license suspension or revocation at that time for a conviction. 

During the criminal process, you’ll likely have to appear in court, where a judge will review the evidence and hear your case. If found guilty, you could face fines, probation, mandatory alcohol education classes, or even incarceration. The severity of these consequences often depends on factors like your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of arrest and whether you have prior DWI convictions.

The first DWI conviction results in a 90-day suspension. Under certain circumstances, you might be eligible for a Restricted Driving Privilege. Subsequent DWI convictions can result in extensive suspension and revocation consequences for up to ten years.


The DOR may also impose a separate suspension or revocation of a driver’s license under administrative law statutes. This often occurs long before a criminal conviction. Administrative suspension and revocation can occur if the blood alcohol content exceeds the legal limit or the driver refuses to submit to a breathalyzer or give a blood sample under Missouri’s Implied Consent Law. 

The duration of the suspension depends on the circumstances, and the suspension or revocation is automatic, even if the criminal charges are eventually dismissed.

If stopped or arrested upon probable cause that you were driving a vehicle with a BAC over the legal limit, you will be issued a Missouri Form 2385 Notice of Suspension or Revocation of Driving Privilege by the law enforcement officer. Your driving privilege will be suspended or revoked 15 days from the date of the notice unless you request a hearing. It is important to contact an attorney immediately if you receive this notice. Requesting an administrative hearing will toll the suspension or revocation until the hearing can be conducted. If the DOR determines to uphold the suspension or revocation, you will lose your driver’s license for 30 days, followed by a 60-day Restricted Driving period. Alternatively, you can install an Ignition Interlock Device on your vehicle, allowing you restricted driving privileges for all 90 days. 

Note that if you do not request the hearing within 15 days of receiving the notice, your driving privileges will be immediately suspended, and you will be unable to legally drive in Missouri until you take steps to reinstate your license. 

What If I Refuse To Take A Breathalyzer Or Blood Test? 

Your driving privilege will be revoked automatically for one year if you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test. Missouri’s Implied Consent Law requires that you submit to an alcohol or drug test when requested by law enforcement. You will be served the initial notice by the law enforcement officer generally, and you will be issued a 15-day permit. After that, the DOR will revoke your license for a full year, regardless of whether the criminal matter results in a conviction or dismissal. 

An attorney can help you file a petition for review with the local circuit court within 30 days of the date on the notice. This will allow you to present a defense to the administrative revocation in circuit court. Contact an attorney immediately if you are facing an administrative suspension or revocation. 


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