How Does a DWI Affect Your Driver’s License in Kansas City, MO
A big part of defending a DWI case is that these cases are often complex. There is almost no doubt that you will be facing some kind of criminal charge related to a DWI arrest, but you will also have to deal with the possibility of losing your driver’s license. In Kansas City, your case can either be taken up by a municipal or country prosecutor in the area and jurisdiction where you were arrested. You will not be technically charged with a “crime” if your case is handled in a municipal court. Instead, this charge is known as a “municipal ordinance violation.” However, don’t misinterpret the name. A municipal DWI still has almost the same consequences as a state criminal charge. You could still be fined, receive probation, or even face jail time in certain situations.
In Kansas City there is a DWI enhancement statute that permits DWIs to add up throughout your lifetime. While there are situations when you may be able to “expunge” first offense DWIs from your record, you will have to wait a decent amount of time before you can. Meanwhile, if you receive another DWI charge, you could be charged as a repeat DWI offender, which means you are almost guaranteed to spend some time in jail.
While your criminal case is pending, you will also need to contact the Missouri Department of Revenue (“DOR”) to try to prevent the DWI from being placed on your driving record, because you do not want to lose your license for up to a year. The DOR is equivalent to most states’ DMV. If you have a first offense DWI and “blew” over .08, you are going to deal with a 90 day loss of your license. In any other offenses, you could lose you license for up to a year. Even on your first offense, if you “refuse to blow,” you could be facing a one year revocation of your license.
While most lawyers will state that DOR licensing cases “cannot be won,” the absolute truth is that there is a realistic chance for an experienced DWI attorney. At Cornerstone, our attorneys have helped hundreds of people keep their drivers’ license, with some cases where the person blew almost four times above the legal limit. In order to beat the DOR in a drivers’ license case, it takes a great deal of knowledge, skill, and most importantly, hard work. Winning these cases are not easy and takes a tremendous amount of time. Our lawyers are dedicated to doing anything we can to ensure that you have a winning defense, and we have been efficient in some of the most successful licensing defenses.
It is extremely imperative that you know that there are time limitations typically associated with a licensing case. If you had to blow, you will have 15 days (with no exception) from the date and time that you receive a notice (usually at the time of arrest) to contest the case with the DOR. If for any reason, that you have missed this deadline, you revoke your right to challenge the case, and an “administrative alcohol suspension” will be placed on your driving record. Also, do not attempt to challenge this on your own. You need to ensure that the DOR paperwork is correctly filled out. If you decide to hire our firm, we promise to handle both the filling out and sending on the paperwork for you.
If however, you refuse to blow, you will then have 30 days after you receive notice (again, usually at the time of the arrest) to go to court to challenge this. Even though you have a 30 day deadline, if you decide to delay, on the 16th day you will lose your license, until you or an attorney files the correct document with the court. Once again, you shouldn’t attempt to do this by yourself. If you didn’t blow, the paperwork required to challenge this case is leaps and bounds more complicated than if you blew. Essentially, your attorney will need to file a document with the court which is called a “Petition for Review.” This petition is used as a lawsuit against the DOR, which demands a court hearing to decide on your rights. Not only is this document complex, but it must claim very specific things. Unfortunately, even experienced attorneys can have trouble with this document.
In many situations, if you hire a lawyer, the lawyer can preserve your rights to driver without restrictions put in place, until the lawyer has fully resolved your case. This is particularly the truth if it’s a first offense DWI. The DOR will then mail your license back to you, if the attorney wins your case. However, if your attorney loses the licensing case, you will receive a suspension or revocation about a week or two after you have received notice from the DOR or court. Your attorney should be able to help you in finding a limited driving privilege that can permit you to drive in case of emergencies or important purposes in life. Since these deadlines are strict, if you have been arrested for DWI, you should not delay in talking to an attorney in our office for a free consultation.
How Does a DWI Affect a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)?
In the event that you drive a commercial vehicle and have a Class A, B, or C Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), your job is in serious jeopardy from the very moment you’re arrested for a DWI. In Kansas City, it makes no difference whether you receive a DWI in a commercial vehicle or in your family minivan. A DWI will have the same consequences for a CDL owner. These cases are especially difficult due to the fact that in order to avoid a risk of a one year revocation of your CDL, the attorney must not only 1) win your licensing case, but also 2) ensure that your criminal or municipal DWI charge is reduced to a non-DWI related offense. In other words, your criminal record should say something such as “careless and imprudent driving.” It is unfortunate, because most of the attorneys that state that they “practice” in this area of the law are typically unaware of these hard facts.
All of our firm’s DWI lawyers have efficiently saved many people’s CDLs in past cases and they intend to continue to do such in the future. If you are someone with a CDL, before hiring an attorney, you should ask the following questions, along with any other questions mentioned above. Make sure that 1) the lawyer has defended CDLs successfully in the past, and 2) if the lawyer understands the law regarding DWIs. While there is no doubt that many attorneys are experienced in Kansas City, if you end up receiving inconsistent legal information with what we have provide you with here, you should look in a new direction for efficient and quality representation. Your risk factor is way too high.
If this isn’t your first DWI, then your stakes are much higher. Under the law, you will be facing a permanent loss of your CDL privileges if you receive a second DWI. In this instance, you are actually fighting for your job and livelihood. Hiring the wrong attorney who doesn’t know the law as well could result in the attorney pleading you guilty to a DWI. Even if the attorney won your licensing case or the plea ends up as a “SIS,” this will mean a lifetime CDL ban. Unfortunately, our attorneys have seen many examples where a lawyer will give a CDL holder bad advice in court. While it isn’t our place to look at another attorney and correct them, we still flinch every time we’ve heard this happen. In some cases, we’ve even had many CDL holders call our office after they had pleaded guilty to a DWI and received a permanent CDL ban from the DOR. We do understand their pain and we sympathize with these CDL holders; however, at this point there is nothing we can to do correct these types of mistakes. This is a classic example of a law where you can only get one chance to get it right.
Many of our potential clients have the thought process that if they get hit with a first offense DWI, that they “can just not driver a commercial vehicle for a year. I have other jobs I can do in the meantime.” This mindset is dangerous. Many companies have policies set in place that prohibit them from hiring a CDL holder that has been hit with a CDL suspension for DWI for at least five years. In fact, there are many companies that will not hire a CDL holder that holds a DWI suspension at all. Which means you might have to worry about more than just the DOR. There’s the possibility that you will lose any chances of continuing to work in a profession that you love, simply because of a DWI CDL revocation. Practically speaking, this of course makes sense. In a realistic world, companies understand that you could be a liability. A company could have to pay out hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of dollars in the event that an employee with a prior DWI revocation kills or seriously injures someone in an accident.
As a CDL holder, you have could have an extreme risk to your CDLs and your career. You shouldn’t delay contacting us for a free consultation. Just like any other DWI case, it is imperative that you contact our office as soon as possible. You should contact us on the night of your arrest, or at least, the first business day after an arrest.