Drunk driving offenses in Missouri are subject to a two-track system of sanctions. Many residents of the state may be familiar with both, but unfamiliar with how they are distinct from one another. This post will set forth the basic differences between the criminal and administrative aspects of a drunk driving arrest.
The criminal arrest track: If you are charged with DWI offense, you will receive a traffic ticket. The criminal arrest track involves the penalties that you may face if you are convicted based on the offenses laid out by the traffic ticket. In addition to any fines or jail time that the court may impose. Points added to your license also fall under the criminal track.
The administrative arrest track: The administrative track comes into effect only if your arrest involves a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or more. If this is the case, then the Missouri Department of Revenue becomes involved. The main administrative penalty that you may face is a suspension or revocation of your driving privilege, which is based on the issuance of a Notice of Suspension/Revocation of Driving Privilege Form. You have only 15 days after this form is issued to request a hearing to contest the suspension or revocation of your license. The hearing is held at an in-person hearing location. The arresting officer may or may not be present during this hearing.
This post is intended only as an introduction to the subject of the criminal and administrative aspects of a drunk driving arrest. If you retain an experienced drunk driving defense attorney, then your lawyer should already be familiar with both the criminal and administrative tracks and how to respond to each of them. Effective assistance of counsel can make an important difference in the outcome for you in each.