Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney
July 27. 2022.
What Is Missouri’s Abuse and Lose Law?
As the rates of impaired driving continue to increase, Missouri has enacted laws to reflect its desire to curb them. Lawmakers understand that stiff penalties and a no-nonsense attitude might be the only way to deter a person from committing an alcohol-related traffic offense.
Missouri takes underage alcohol offenses very seriously. Therefore, in 2013, the state created the DWI Abuse and Lose statute. It is designed to prevent people under the age of 21 from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The law makes the penalties for being caught abusing drugs or alcohol while underage much harsher, including automatic driver’s license suspensions.
This law has effectively reduced DWI rates in Missouri by 20 percent since it was enacted. If you have been accused of operating a motor vehicle after taking a controlled substance or engaging in other drug-related offenses, contact a skilled attorney to help avoid criminal penalties, including having a criminal record.
When Missouri Abuse and Lose Laws Are Applied
In addition, being visibly intoxicated, possessing an intoxicating liquor, attempting to purchase or actually purchasing it, and having a blood alcohol content level of more than 0.20% could all result in a suspended license.
Missouri is one of the few states that actually has an “abuse and lose” system. Other alcohol- or drug-related offenses may result in the loss of driving privileges for those between 15 and 21 years of age. Drivers who are under the age of 21 will lose their driver’s license for committing any of the following:
- Alcohol-related traffic violations
- Operating a motor vehicle while possessing alcohol
- Being visibly intoxicated
- Crimes that involve the possession or use of drugs
- Attempting to purchase or actually purchasing liquor
- Using a fake ID or an altered license from the Missouri driver’s license bureau
- Having a blood alcohol content of more than 0.020%
- A subsequent offense that involves someone under age 18 under the influence or in possession of alcohol
In the case of the first offense of any of these offenses, the suspension may be 30 days; a second offense, 90 days; and a third offense, one year.
Contact a local lawyer for assistance and specific legal advice if you’re in Missouri and need help with an “abuse and lose” suspension.
Consequences of a DWI Conviction
DWI is a serious crime with harsh penalties upon conviction and the civil and administrative consequences of a suspended license. The law punishes drivers who operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated with the following penalties:
- Suspending their driver’s license for one year
- Imposing a fine of up to $1,000
- Completing an alcohol education program that they will also have to pay for
- Install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for one year after program completion
- Increasing liability insurance rates
With such dire consequences, it is wise to consult an experienced legal firm to reduce the charges or even have them dropped. Contact Kansas City DWI lawyers from the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center for information, advice, and advocacy. Call now to schedule an initial consultation.
When Will You Get Your Driver License Back After a Suspension or Revocation?
Few people appreciate the freedom of a driver’s license more than the young people of Missouri. When those driving privileges are suspended due to poor choices, they are anxious to reinstate their license as soon as possible.
After an Abuse and Lose suspension or revocation, you must:
- Pay a license reinstatement fee of $45
- Complete the Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program (SATOP)
- You must undergo a driver’s examination if your license has been revoked for one year. After a 30-day or 90-day suspension, you are not required to complete a driver’s examination.
- Maintain ignition interlock if your blood alcohol level is over .02% for the second time while driving a vehicle.
- Maintain SR-22 Insurance if your blood alcohol level is over .02% for the second time while driving a vehicle.
After completing these steps, you must still wait until all court proceedings are complete before your license can be reinstated.
If you need to get your Missouri driver’s license reinstated, a criminal defense attorney in Kansas City may be able to help. In certain circumstances, they might negotiate a restricted license or assist you in reducing the charges or getting them dropped entirely.