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Refusing a Breathalyzer in Missouri


If you ever see those blue lights flashing in your rear-view mirror after having a drink or two during a day or evening out, you probably understand just how harrowing an experience this can be. If the law enforcement official who pulls you over believes you may be drunk, you can assume that he or she is assessing the situation closely and looking for indications of impairment in your actions and speech. A natural next step is for authorities to ask you to submit to a breath test, and should you refuse, you may face the following consequences.

Penalties for breath test refusals

If it is your first time ever refusing to take a breath test in Missouri, you face a mandatory loss of your license for one year during a period referred to as a chemical revocation. Should you choose to dispute or appeal the period of revocation, you must petition the circuit court, or the associate circuit court, within the county not where you reside, but where your arrest occurred. You must do so within 30 days of your receipt of a Notice of Revocation. If you are a Missouri resident and you are arrested for drinking and driving in a separate state, you must file your petition within Jefferson City, Missouri's Cole County Circuit Court. If you do, however, have to undergo a chemical revocation, you cannot petition to have it removed, meaning it will remain on your record permanently.

Missouri's Limited Driving Privilege

Depending on the facts of your case, you may also be able to seek what is known as Missouri's Limited Driving Privilege. Generally, this type of privilege comes with specific requirements and restrictions. For example, you may only be allowed to drive to and from work, school or alcohol treatment. Should you decide to pursue this type of privilege, you must do two things. First, you must file what is known as a SR-22 insurance filing, which proves that the car you will drive during the revocation period has liability coverage. Second, you must install an Ignition Interlock Device, which you must blow into and prove you do not have alcohol in your system in order for your car to start.

The penalties associated within drinking and driving in Missouri can be considerable, and the decision as to whether to submit to a breath test may have serious implications. To discuss the specific details of your case or charge, consider getting in touch with an attorney.

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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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