Breathalyzer Tests and DWIs in Missouri

If you were arrested for DWI, took a breath test, and your BAC was allegedly over .08%, you will be facing an administrative alcohol suspension. If this was not your first contact of this type with law enforcement, you will be facing an administrative alcohol revocation. We will work with you to get your driving privileges back as soon as possible. There are strict filing deadlines for filing a request for what is called an “Administrative Hearing.” This is the only way to fight the suspension or revocation of your license if you were arrested for DWI and blew over the legal limit. That is why it is critical to contact us as soon as possible so the appropriate paperwork can be filed on your behalf.

The Preliminary Breath Test

The preliminary breath test (PBT) is a small device which allows police to determine whether there is a positive or negative presence for alcohol. This is usually conducted at the scene of the traffic stop as part of field sobriety testing and should always be done prior to an arrest. It should also be the very last test administered by the police officer while at the scene of the stop. It is used confirm the officer’s suspicion that alcohol is involved. It should not be the basis for a DWI investigation. Often, if the test results in a negative finding for alcohol, the officer will then call a “drug recognition expert.”

The accuracy of this type of testing has been called into question in many jurisdictions, and any errors with the way that the machine was calibrated or the way in which the test was administered may result in the results being deemed inadmissible in court.

An important distinction is that this preliminary breath test is not the test that results in a one year revocation of your driver’s license if you refuse to take it. That rule applies to the test done after you are read the Missouri Implied Consent Warning, in which the officer tells you that you are under arrest for suspicion of DWI.

The Police Station/Evidentiary Breath Test

If you are arrested for DWI and taken to the police station, you will likely be asked to take another breath test. This test is conducted on a different type of machine that is, in theory, thought to be more accurate because the machine at the station is supposed to have certain safeguards in place. Breathalyzer test results are not nearly as cut-and-dry as they may initially seem, and there are often ways that an experienced lawyer can challenge their validity.

As mentioned above, any issues with the way in which the machine was calibrated or the test was administered may result in the test result being deemed inadmissible in court. In addition, certain medical conditions and the officer’s failure to abide by the proper procedure can cause unreliably high breath test results. Because of these and other issues, anyone that is facing a DWI/DUI case in which the results of a breath test are being used as evidence should speak to an attorney as soon as possible.

First DWI Offense

If this is your first DWI arrest, you will be subject to a 90-day administrative suspension. You have two options. The first is to drive without any driving privileges for 30 days, followed by 60 days of restricted driving. The second is to obtain an ignition interlock device (RSMo §302.525.2(1)). This would eliminate any “hard walk,” but does impose additional burdens on you. We will walk you through both options.

To get your Restricted Driving Permit

You need to file proof of Financial Responsibility (SR-22) with the Missouri Department of Revenue prior to being eligible for restricted driving privileges. If you are appealing your suspension with the Circuit Court (commonly referred to as a Trial De Novo), you do not need to file SR-22 for such a permit to issue.

Immediate Driving Privilege Through Ignition Interlock Device

You need to file proof of Financial Responsibility (SR-22) with the Missouri Department of Revenue AND provide proof of installation of a certified ignition interlock device. You will also need to complete and submit Form 2385 (Request for Immediate 90-Day Restricted Driving Privilege), which tells the Missouri Department of Revenue that you are electing to drive during your suspension.

There are a couple of reasons why someone might decide against this option. First, the additional cost of the ignition interlock device. The average installer charges $70-150 for installation plus a monthly cost between $60-80. Second, prior to full reinstatement after 90 days, the Missouri Department of Revenue will require proof that you successfully completed 75 days without any reports of tampering and violations. If you do not complete these 75 days, you will have to serve an additional 30 day suspension.

Full Reinstatement After 90 Days

After you have served your 90-day suspension, you are eligible for full reinstatement of your driving privileges. You will need to have proof of SR-22 on file with the Department of Revenue, provide proof of SATOP completion, and pay a $45.00 reinstatement fee to the Department of Revenue. If you chose to drive with an ignition interlock device during your suspension, you will also need proof of your successful completion of 75 days violation free.

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Arrested for DWI & Refused to Blow

If you have been arrested for DWI and refused to blow, you are facing a one-year revocation of your driving privileges. You likely received a 15-day Temporary Driving Permit from the arresting officer. At the end of 15 days, this permit will expire and you will be without driving privileges. We can help you with this, but time is of the essence. Call us today so we can keep you driving while we fight to retain your driving privileges.

Petition for Review of License Revocation

When you are arrested for DWI and refuse to blow, your driver license will be revoked for one year for a violation of the Missouri Implied Consent Law. You have 30 days from the date of arrest to file a Petition for Review in the county of arrest. We will file a request for a “Stay Order,” which will “stay” the revocation of your driving privileges while we fight your license revocation. You may continue driving while these proceedings are going on. Note that you have 30 days to file the Petition for Review, but only 15 days of driving on your Temporary Driving Permit. It is critical to get us involved early on so that there is no lapse in your driving privileges.

In order for your license to be revoked, the Department of Revenue has to show there was:

1. probable cause to arrest your for DWI;

2. that you were driving; and

3. that you refused to submit to a breath/blood test upon request.

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Cops aren’t perfect. They make mistakes. If there is a way to beat your case, we will find it. You are facing the loss of your driver license, higher insurance rates, and an expensive reinstatement process. Don’t go down without a fight. Call us today to speak with a former DWI prosecutor for the Department of Revenue.

Our Top DUI/DWI Information:

Probable Cause in a Missouri DWI/DUI Case

Arrested for DWI & Refused to Blow

NHTSA Standards and DWI

Helpful Hints

Remember, you will be working with a governmental agency. It takes time for things to get processed. Don’t expect to file your SR-22 and get your Restricted Driving Permit the next day. Thus, it is important to schedule in processing time for all of these things to get done.

If too much time has passed and you missed your filing deadline, we can help you get a Limited Driving Privilege during your revocation. If you lost your case, we can help you get back on the road faster with a Limited Driving Privilege.

Don’t get caught in a time crunch – even one day of not driving when you are eligible to drive can be frustrating. Let us help you navigate this process and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

Contact St. Louis Criminal Defense Attorneys Muhlenkamp & Bernsen today for a free case evaluation.

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