Category Archives: DWI

Right to remain silent? Not so much…

The Court of Appeals in a recent decision held that where a driver remained silent when asked whether she would submit to a blood alcohol test during a DWI stop, she had refused the stop and her license should be suspended for one year. Had she asked for a chance to contact a lawyer, she might have had a different result. The court remarked in a footnote that:

The right to contact an attorney is triggered only if the driver specifically requests to talk to his lawyer.

So, you have a right to remain silent, except sometimes you don’t, but even some of those times, you can still ask for a lawyer. It’s always safe to ask for a chance to talk to your lawyer and sometimes extra rights are triggered when you do.

I want my lawyer.

First DWI and the Driving Privilege

What should I expect will happen to my driving privilege after I get my first DWI?

The ignition interlock can mean the difference between keeping your job and being unemployed.

CC by 2.0, Kyle May
CC by 2.0, Kyle May

Assuming you submitted to the breath test and there was no refusal (which may or may not be a good idea):

You’ve got two choices: 1) 30 day suspension followed by 60 day restricted driving privilege, or 2) take an immediate restricted driving privilege with ignition interlock device installed. You must request the immediate restricted driving privilege and submit proof of installation of the ignition interlock device. More information is here.

What if I am later convicted of the DWI? If I get 8 points on my license, don’t I get a suspension anyhow? I called the office of the General Counsel for the Department of Revenue about this very issue. The way they explained it: Yes, you get your 8-point suspension but if you already served your 90 day restricted driving privilege, you get credit for that time.  In effect, you are not denied any additional time driving – at least not for this incident.

Several factors can complicate this scheme. Minors in possession, those with prior DWIs (even out of state), prior suspensions, CDL holders, DWIs resulting in accidents or injury, etc., should expect different outcomes.

On the Road Stoned

A study released this month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calls into question the long-assumed connection between marijuana and automobile crashes.

Øyvind Holmstad, CC BY-SA 3.0
Øyvind Holmstad, CC BY-SA 3.0

“This analysis shows that the significant increased risk of crash involvement associated with THC … is not found…”

Missouri law criminalizes driving “under the influence of” drugs.  But if NHTSA now tells us marijuana use is not correlated with crash risk, is it just a matter of time until a defense lawyer argues his client’s driving wasn’t influenced at all?

DWI Law and Practice Deskbook

The latest edition of the DWI Law and Practice DeskbookMoBarCLE_Deskbook is out. I co-authored with Carol Hutcheson the chapter on “Multi-Jurisdictional Issues.”

I’d like to thank my endlessly patient wife and colleague, Angela Umbarger, for gracefully tolerating too many late nights consumed with research.

Where can I go to SATOP?

Missouri Department of Mental Health
Missouri Department of Mental Health

For those who get a DWI, a Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program completion is generally required.  I got the question from a client today, “Where do I go for my SATOP?”  The Missouri Department of Mental Health publishes a list of providers.

Here’s the list.