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Consequences in Missouri of refusing a breathalyzer test

It might not make any sense at first, but you could be acquitted of the driving while intoxicated charge for which you were arrested in St. Louis and still face revocation of your license and other penalties. The reason is that Missouri is an implied consent state, so refusing a police officer’s request that you submit to an alcohol or drug test, such as a breathalyzer or a blood test, allows the state to revoke your driver’s license for one year.

You have the right to a hearing in the Circuit or Associate Circuit Court where you were arrested. You only have 30 days to request a hearing by filing a petition for review. The 30 days is calculated from the date the state issues the notice of revocation of your license.

If you do not request a hearing or, if a judge upholds the revocation at a hearing, the one-year license revocation will begin. A refusal to submit to a chemical test related to a DWI becomes a permanent part of your driving record. It can never be expunged.

The consequences of a chemical revocation are unrelated to whatever happens in court with your criminal charges. One of those consequences is that you are not allowed to drive for any reason during the first 90 days of the revocation period. After the 90 days, you may apply for limited driving privileges that will allow you to drive to and from school, work, doctor’s appointments and attendance at an alcohol program.

As a condition to getting your license back at the end of the revocation period, you must completed a state approved Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program. If you have had a prior DWI, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for six months as a condition to getting the license back.

A criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable about the driving while intoxicated laws is an excellent resource for legal advice for anyone charged with drunk driving. The attorney may also be able to assist you concerning the consequences of refusing to take a breathalyzer.

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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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