What Happens to My Driver’s License if I Refuse a Breath Test in Missouri?

Kimberly2 1Author:

Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney

The very act of getting a driver’s license in Missouri involves granting your “implied consent” to submit to a urine, breath, or blood test if law enforcement suspects you of intoxicated driving. During a traffic stop for a suspected DWI or DUI, people sometimes balk at the request for a breath test. Exercising this personal freedom will place you in hot water with the law. Fortunately, you do have rights and can take steps to protect your reputation and driving record.


15-Day Temporary Driving Permit

If you or someone you know refused a breath test, fear of providing hard evidence of intoxication may have motivated the behavior. Alternatively, you may have been sober and felt wrongfully detained by police.

Either way, the police officer had the authority to seize your driver’s license and issue a temporary 15-day driving permit while the court processes your criminal case. When you lose your license after refusing a breath test, the state calls it a Chemical Revocation because it involved a failure to submit bodily fluid or breath for analysis.


15 Days to Request Administrative Hearing

During the 15-day period immediately following your DWI or DUI arrest, you have a chance to challenge the allegations made against you. With the help of an attorney, you may request an Administrative Hearing. At this hearing, an attorney could ask for an extension of your temporary driving permit to gain time to file a lawsuit against the Department of Revenue that manages the issuance of driver’s licenses.

This petition will ask the applicable court to review your traffic stop and potentially rule that the Department of Revenue must rescind its Chemical Revocation. Should you win this lawsuit, you will get your license back. A loss will result in the revocation of your driver’s license for one year.

You have a strong interest in making this effort against the Department of Revenue. Otherwise, the Chemical Revocation will go forward and this action will never drop off your driving record.


One-Year License Revocation

Reinstatement of your license after one year will require paying a fee and completing a Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program. People who have more than one alcohol-related driving offense on their records must also have an Ignition Interlock Device placed on their vehicles for at least six months following the one-year revocation period.


Potential for Limited Driving Privileges

Work and school obligations or the need for medical care could qualify you for a Limited Driving Privilege. Attending a substance abuse program may also serve as a worthy reason to gain authorization for a limited right to drive during a Chemical Revocation period.

Should the state award you a Limited Driving Privilege, you must pay for the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device on your vehicle(s).


Legal Support Could Make a Difference

The criminal justice system will assume that you are guilty and move forward with harsh penalties unless your attorney intervenes. Even if you refused a breath test, you could still chart a way forward that limits the negative consequences.

Do not believe that you are helpless after a drunk driving arrest. Legal advice and representation could improve your position and prevent the harshest consequences of refusing a breath test.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to the experienced attorneys at the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center if you or a loved one have been arrested for a DWI. Our trusted team of attorneys will take the time to review your case, and take the necessary steps to make sure your rights are protected. Contact us now. (816) 322-8008

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