You want a DWI Attorney in Springfield with the knowledge and experience to handle your concerns and with the time and dedication to listen to your immediate needs and long-term goals. As one of southwest Missouri's fastest growing law firms, Harris Law, DWI Attorney in Nixa, handles a wide variety of legal matters. What really sets Harris Law apart is DWI Attorney in Ozark Joel Harris' dedication to his clients. They offer free initial consultations so it will not cost you anything to find out what the firm can do for you.
If you have been ticketed or arrested for Driving While Intoxicated, you may lose your license. Harris Law is knowledgeable and skilled in keeping and reinstating your license. Contact Harris Law immediately as these matters are time sensitive. Speaking with an attorney within 15 days of your ticket may save your license.
In the state of Missouri it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while impaired. Determining what impaired means is a much more difficult questions to answer. More importantly, negotiating an outcome that will have little effects on your future, is crucial! Joel T. Harris has named one of the Top 40 Under 40 Criminal Defense Attorneys in the State of Missouri. His knowledge and experience will help you through this extremely difficult process.
The short answer is yes. However, your attorney can discuss with you options to prevent a loss of license (The driver has 15 days from the date their Notice of Suspension/Revocation is issued to request an administrative hearing. If requested, a hearing is scheduled by the Department of Revenue in the county of arrest or may be held by telephone or in person). As you are ticketed for DWI, points are added to your driving record as follows:
1.First conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI) - 8 points
2.Second or subsequent conviction for DWI - 12 points
A first-time DWI conviction results in a 30-day suspension. After the 30-day suspension, the driver may receive a 60-day restricted driving privilege. This is sometimes referred to as a hard 30 and soft 60. The driver is eligible for reinstatement of his license after the full 90 day period is complete and all reinstatement requirements are met. (see below)
A driver convicted of a second alcohol offense, regardless of the length of time between convictions, is revoked for a period of one year. A driver convicted of driving while intoxicated for the second time in a five-year period also receives a five-year license denial.
A 10-year license denial is imposed against any individual convicted three or more times for driving while intoxicated. After ten years, the privilege to drive can be restored only by court order.
A person whose driving privilege is suspended or revoked may have his or her driving privilege reinstated after the suspension or revocation period is served if all requirements are filed with the Department of Revenue. If a driver does not satisfy the reinstatement requirements, the driving privilege remains suspended or revoked.
Anyone suspended or revoked for points assessed as a result of an alcohol-related conviction must meet the following reinstatement requirements:
1.Pay a $45 reinstatement fee. (possibly 2 totaling $90.00)
2.File and maintain proof of financial responsibility for two years from the suspension or revocation date.
3.Provide proof of successful completion of a Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program (SATOP) or comparable program. The Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse will send this form directly to the department after the program has been completed. Any questions regarding SATOP comparable programs should be directed to a certified SATOP Offender Management Unit.
Any driver revoked for at least one year is also required to take and pass the complete driver examination and apply for a new license at proper fee.
SATOP is the Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program (see below).
Completion of this course is required in order to reinstate your license. It is a two step process that involves the expense of an assessment and treatment. The assessment costs $375.00 and is set by the state. The treatment costs will vary based on where your assessment places you, but it will range from $100.00 to $1005.91, unless it is determined that in-patient treatment is required which could cost more. While financial assistance is available for some programs you will at least have to pay $150.00 to proceed.
In order to get your license back the state requires you pay the department of revenue a $45.00 reinstatement fee. It is possible to owe a $45.00 fee after the initial suspension and another $45.00 fee after a plea or finding of guilt in the criminal matter.
In the past almost always a person ticketed of DWI is taken to the police station and held for a period of time. Recently officers have been attempting to reduce jail congestion by releasing ticketed offenders to sober drivers. However, this section deals more with the incarceration as a result of a DWI conviction.
First time offenders of DWI could see up to 6 months in jail. However, outside aggravating circumstances, (accident, injury, being rude to the officer, child in car, etc…) a first time offender will be able to avoid any substantial jail time by being placed on probation. Consult with your attorney the possibility of avoiding jail time in lieu of community service or other alternative sentencing options.
A second time offender could see up to 1 year in jail. While probation is a real possibility for second time offenders the likelihood of avoiding jail drastically decreases. Many prosecutors and judges will at least request shock time (a short period of time spent in the county jail for the purposes of shocking the offender into a law abiding citizen).
A third time offender will be classified as a felon and will likely result in some type of jail time in the department of corrections (DOC).
A third offense could see up to five years in DOC while a chronic offender could see an increase to a class B felony and a maximum sentence of 15 years in DOC.
Once arrested, the police officer will take you to the station for further investigation. You will be given the opportunity to submit to a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) test pursuant to Missouri's Implied Consent Law. As discussed above, by refusing to take the test, your license will be revoked for a year. However, taking the test will give the officer crucial evidence in proving you are impaired.
Before you take the test you have the right to contact an attorney. You must request and the officer will give you a reasonable amount of time to call an attorney. Being that most DWI arrests occur at night, it may be difficult to contact an attorney. However, if you have an attorney that you commonly work with it may be an opportunity to but your attorney on notice of your arrest so they can spring to action.
Additionally, the officer must observe you for twenty (20) minutes before retrieving a breath sample. During this time you will not be allowed to chew gum, smoke a cigarette, belch or vomit. If any of these things occur during this time the officer should re-start the twenty (20) minute observation period. Try to pay attention to the time observation begins and ends and make sure to make mental notes if you vomit or belch.
Finally, the officer will attempt to go through an interview process. Remember, you have a right to remain silent. Politely tell the officer that you wish to exercise this right and answer no questions.
The financial effects of a DWI can sometimes be strenuous. When looking into costs you should consider the costs of insurance (see below), SATOP, Court fines, Court costs, licensing fees, and attorney fees. While there is no set fee there are some guidelines governing the fines than may be assessed.
There are multiple outcomes in dealing with a DWI. For a regular conviction or a suspended Execution of Sentencing (SES) a DWI conviction will remain on your record for a minimum of ten (10) years. After ten years you may apply for expungement if you meet the requirements. If you are one of the lucky ones to be granted a Suspended Imposition of Sentencing (SIS) then your charge of DWI will not show up on casenet. A final possible outcome is a deferred prosecution. These are rarely given by prosecutors but if obtained can be a great way to keep a DWI of your record.
In general you should not talk to the officer. However, you should definitely be polite and respectful to the officer. This will not only pay off in the future, but is simply the right thing to do. The officer is there doing a job, and being rude can only make things worse. The officer will likely ask for your license and insurance. Have these items ready to give the officer before they even get to the car. Many times an officer will confuse fumbling around and looking for your license or insurance as an indicator of intoxication.
If the officer proceeds to ask you other questions simply state, “I intend to exercise my constitutional right not to answer questions. Am I free to leave?” This statement accomplishes two things. First, it lets the officer know that you intend to remain silent and may prevent further questioning. The second thing it does is clarify whether further interrogation is considered custodial or not. An interrogation is considered custodial if the suspect is not free to leave. If the officer continues to question you after you expressly indicate your right to remain silent, simply do not answer. This right continues throughout the entire process so please remain silent.
This is one of the most asked questions of DWI attorneys. However, there is no good answer. In some cases you should in others it may be more beneficial to decline. It is important to consult an attorney on the issue because the law is constantly changing. In any case it is important to understand Missouri's implied consent law. This law requires a driver to submit to a chemical test when requested by a law enforcement officer. If the driver refuses to submit to the test, their license is revoked for one year.
Greene and Christian Counties generally consider themselves a "No Refusal County". While this technically does not mean you are unable to refuse, it does mean that if you do refuse they will seek a warrant and take a sample of your blood.
As to the ultimate question consider this. The state of Missouri finds it illegal to drive a vehicle while in an impaired condition. It further finds that a blood alcohol level of .08 or above is considered impaired. While losing your license for a year is tough punishment for refusing a breathalyzer, a test result of .08 or above is a guaranteed conviction of DWI.