When you are charged with a DWI in Missouri, you face different circumstances than many people who are charged with a crime. The main difference being, that you will face both criminal and administrative charges, this means that you will be required to attend (or have a DWI attorney attend for you) two separate hearings if you wish to fight the charges you’re up against on both a civil and criminal level.
Today we will take a look at how administrative hearings differ from criminal hearings, what you should expect at an administrative hearing, and how you can prepare for it if you’re facing DWI charges in Missouri.
If you’ve been charged with a DWI don’t hesitate to call a DWI attorney for legal consultation.
Missouri DWI Administrative Hearings
When a person is arrested for a DUI/DWI in Missouri or refuses to take a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) test, either by breath or blood, that person receives an automatic license suspension regardless of the outcome of the DUI charges-unless you request a hearing. (Learn more about whether or not you have to perform a field sobriety test in Missouri.)
The automatic suspension of a driver’s license from DWI/DUI related charges is referred to as an “administrative per se” suspension. These suspensions usually go into effect within 30 days after the arrest. After the arrest, you have 15 days from the date the Notice of Suspension/Revocation of Driving Privilege (Form 2385) is issued to request an administrative hearing.
Once you have requested a hearing to contest the suspension of your Missouri driver’s license, a hearing will be scheduled by the Department of Revenue. This hearing may either be in person or over the telephone.
Administrative hearings can be confusing to many people, just because there is so much more information around criminal hearings. However, administrative hearing procedures for license suspension as a result of a DWI in Missouri, aren’t that mysterious once you know the basics. Here are the main things you need to know about administrative hearings:
- You do NOT have the right to an attorney in an administrative hearing. At administrative hearings, if you cannot afford an attorney, one will not be appointed for you. That’s why it’s incredibly important to discuss your options during a consultation and prepare for your hearing (see below).
- Innocent until proven guilty doesn’t apply here. That’s right, at an administrative hearing, the government just needs to prove that the elements and evidence of your case are more likely than not true.
- Administrative hearings follow their own timeline. Civil hearings for license suspension or revocation don’t have anything to do with criminal trials. More than likely these hearings will happen before a criminal trial takes place.
- These hearings are fast. Administrative hearings for a DWI/DUI license suspension take about 15 to 20 minutes.
- The arresting officer doesn’t have to be there. More often than not, the report filed by the arresting officer is all that is needed for the hearing to proceed.
- Your license can be suspended even if you’re not convicted of a DWI/DUI. Usually, if you are found not guilty of a DWI/DUI, your license suspension will be voided. However, in some cases, it may not be. This is why it pays to work with an experienced Missouri DWI attorney in Missouri if you’re facing a license suspension.
How To Prepare For Your Administrative Hearing in Missouri
Being arrested for a DWI in Missouri means that contacting a DWI lawyer is in your best interest, whether you’ve been falsely accused or just made a mistake, having an attorney with experience defending some of the toughest DWI cases in the state is key for both your criminal and administrative hearings.
As your Springfield DWI lawyer, our job is to make sure that a DWI doesn’t follow you for the rest of your life and that you are free to come and go as you please, this means having your driver’s license fully reinstated.
Working with an attorney is your best bet to getting your license back as soon as possible. Even if you know you can’t afford an attorney, we invite you to call our DWI office for a free consultation, where we will help you with the next right steps to take for your situation.
In the meantime, there are some things that you can do to prepare yourself before your administrative hearing. Remember, these hearings follow their own timelines and are usually before your actual court date, so take care of these things as soon as possible.
- Write down your side of the arrest. Jot down anything and everything you can remember about the event. Stick to the facts of what happened, rather than your opinion or feelings. For example, if you thought the arresting officer was rude or acting like a bully, say what the officer did or said, instead of how they made you feel.
- Prepare your evidence. Information and evidence that can be used during administrative hearings for a DWI in Missouri is limited. But it can include the testimony of the licensee and the arresting officer, as well as any witnesses, documents of a pre-existing medical condition from the licensee, and video or audio evidence of the event that caused the arrest.
- The burden of proof lies on the licensee’s shoulders and their attorney’s. Make sure that all the evidence and information you are giving helps to demonstrate that the officer’s testimony is either false or that there is insufficient evidence to prove your guilt.
- Take administrative hearings seriously. No matter your situation, contesting your license suspension or revocation is critical to your future success. Not only will it help with your criminal hearing proceedings but it will also make the difference between having a suspension or revocation on your driving license’s record.
Contact a Missouri Criminal & Administrative DWI Attorney Today
For your criminal and administrative trials, you need the help of an experienced DWI lawyer who is prepared to fight aggressively for your rights, DWI Springfield. Our team has handled thousands of criminal and DWI cases. Call us anytime to discuss your situation. We will make sure that you are prepared for both your DWI criminal hearing and your Missouri DWI administrative hearing.