DWI Process


When you receive a DWI, usually two issues need to be resolved. The criminal charges -as a result of the arrest, and the administrative hearing to review the suspension of your driver's license. The client needs to notify my office as soon as possible after the arrest. My office will follow the following very important steps for your defense.

Administrative Hearing:

Filing and appeal: In most cases, the arresting law enforcement officer will take your driver's license and give you a 15 day temporary driving permit to appeal that suspension. If you fail to file a request for an administrative hearing, your license will be suspended for a minimum of 90 days. The request for an administrative hearing MUST be filed within 15 days of the arrest. When my office files this request, the Department of Revenue will mail you a driving permit that will expire 15 days after the Administrative Officer decides your case. If the suspension of your license is "upheld" or your license is suspended, you have the right to appeal to the Circuit Court in the county where you were arrested. Appealing to the Circuit Court is known as a Trial De Novo.

Suspension of license: After the suspension becomes final your license will be suspended or revoked for a period of time determined by the Missouri Statutes. The length of the suspension depends on your driving history.

Trial De Novo: In the event the Administrative Hearings Officer upholds the suspension, you can appeal your case to be tried before the Circuit Court judge.The judge's decision then can be appealed either by you or the Department of Revenue to the Court of Appeals. Additional fees will be charged for anything over the administrative hearing.

If your driver's license is suspended, to reinstate our driver's license, in most states, you may need to do the following:

a. complete a substance abuse traffic offender program (SATOP)

b. Provide proof of insurance on file with the state (SR22).

c. In some cases you will be required to have an interlock device installed on your car for a period of time.

Criminal Charges

When you are arrested for a DWI, your charges may be filed in a Municipal (city) Court or in State Court. Depending on your driving record, state charges may be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony. In all types of DWI / Criminal cases, you will expect the following phases: Entry of Appearance, Arraignment, Discovery, and Case Deposition.

Entry of Appearance: My paralegal, Charlotte, will inform the court that I represent you regarding this matter.

Arraignment: This is the first appearance in court to enter your not guilty plea.

Discovery: A request is sent to obtain the police report and disclosure of all records in possession of the Prosecutor's Office. The records are reviewed with the client to determine if a legal defense exists. Although witnesses may be identified on documents provided by the police and prosecutor's office, a client conference is important to gain additional information for your defense.

Case Disposition: After a client conference, a plan of action will be determine on the following options.

a. Plea Agreement - The Prosecuter's Office agrees to a disposition; or

b. Stand up Plea- If a plea agreement in not reached with the Prosecutor's Office, we will appear in court and enter some type of guilty plea and offer mitigating factors to allow the judge to consider an alternative disposition; or

c. Trial - Your case can be tried in two ways. Bench Trial or a Jury Trial. The judge or a jury will listen to the facts and deliver the verdict. They have the right to impose punishment as authorized by law if found guilty.