St. Louis Attorney Eric Abramson
A DWI/DUI charge typically initiates both civil and criminal proceedings. On the Civil side – this is a cause of action initiated by the Department of Revenue to suspend or revoke a Defendant’s license. The Criminal cause of action typically involves negotiated pleas, trials, and potential probation.
A first DWI offense is usually classified as a Class B Misdemeanor, a second DWI offense is a class A Misdemeanor, and a third DWI offense results in Felony charges.
Proceedings & Defense
Administrative Suspensions and RevocationsIf you are charged with a DWI in Missouri, you have only 15 days act in order to avoid a suspension or revocation of your driving privilege! If you blow over the legal limit, you have only 15 days to request an administrative hearing. If you miss this deadline, there is no second chance and your license will be either suspended or revoked. If you request an administrative hearing within 15 days, your lawyer can argue against a suspension or revocation at an administrative hearing.
The arresting officer should provide you with a form 2385, which also serves as your temporary driving privilege. Keep this form in your vehicle and provide it to your St. Louis DWI defense attorney.
A first offense of an administrative alcohol violation results in a 90 day suspension of your license if your attorney does not prevail in these civil proceedings. After 30 days, you can become eligible for a Limited Driving Privilege which will allow you to prepare for full reinstatement after 90 days. If there is a second offense within five years, the result is a one year suspension.Mr. Abramson often assists his clients in obtaining Limited Driving privileges when necessary in order to allow drivers to get to work
If you refuse a breath or blood test, your license is revoked for one year unless you file a lawsuit to stop the revocation. This remains the case even for Defendant’s being charged with their first DWI.
You only get a 15 day temporary driving privilege in the meantime. The arresting officer should provide you with a form 4323, which you should keep with you and provide to your St. Louis DWI defense attorney.
Within that 15 day window, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and request a Stay Order, signed by a judge, that will allow you to continue driving. Your Stay Order will remain in effect until the challenge to your Driver’s License Revocation case is heard by a judge.
Criminal ProceedingsThe Criminal proceedings resulting from a DWI charge are handled in either Municipal Court or Circuit Court. In these proceedings, an attorney will receive discovery of evidence and a recommendation (plea offer) from the Prosecutor. Your attorney will also have the opportunity to file defense motions in criminal court. These cases are typically resolved with a plea or trial. It should be your Attorney’s primary goals to (1) prevent their client from getting convicted of the DWI/DUI charge and (2) to prevent their client from doing any jail time. Mr. Abramson strategizes each DWI case differently depending on the specific circumstances.
A few examples of potential DWI defenses include:
(1) The Initial Stop or Search.One of the first things we look for is whether the initial stop by the police violated a client’s constitutional right to be free of unlawful search or seizure. In the case of a traffic stop, it is important to consider whether the officer had reasonable suspicion that you had committed a traffic or criminal offense. If not, the stop may have violated your Fourth Amendment rights. The police are not allowed to pull you over just because they have a feeling you are drunk or because you look suspicious. They have to be able to point to specific facts supporting their suspicion that you have committed a traffic or criminal offense. If they can’t, then anything that happened once they stopped you cannot be submitted into evidence (including, for example, any field sobriety test results or breathalyzer results).
(2) Breathalyzer Device.
Was there a problem with the administration or calibration of the breathalyzer device? If the breathalyzer was not properly calibrated before or after your test, the result could be invalid.
(3) Blood or Urine Tests.
Driving under the influence of marijuana (or other drugs) can also result in DWI/DUI charges. You could get charged for a DWI even if you are driving under the influence of your own prescription medication(s). An increasing number of drug intoxication cases involve urine tests, which present unique issues to be examined by a defense attorney. The same applies to blood tests. Blood tests must be taken by a certified technician. The police must have a warrant to draw your blood without your consent. Blood tests are subject to contamination. Unrefrigerated tubes of blood can ferment and spoil. Both types of tests raise numerous defenses that can be discussed as they apply to your specific case. Mr. Abramson has successfully excluded BAC tests from evidence in many cases.
(4) Field Sobriety Tests.
Did the arresting officer properly conduct the field sobriety testing? Did the officer demonstrate and administer all of the tests correctly? Did the officer properly administer the eye (horizontal gaze) test? If the officer made a mistake in explaining or demonstrating the tests, the results could be thrown out. If you have an injury or condition rendering you incapable of performing certain field sobriety tests, the results of these test could be thrown out.
(5) Video, Reports and other Evidence.Once we obtain a copy of the video of the stop, does it clearly show the field sobriety tests? Was there some reason that the field sobriety tests were not recorded? Did the officer follow the necessary protocol with the field sobriety tests? If field sobriety tests were performed, but not corroborated by video evidence, this may be another potential defense to DWI/DUI charges. Video evidence is often key to establishing a strong defense in a DWI/DUI matter.
If you have been charged with a DWI or DUI in Missouri, it is very important to contact an attorney immediately. Contact Eric Abramson at (314) 753-1372 for a free consultation with an experienced DWI attorney today!