Letter from the Missouri Department of Revenue

Did you get a letter from the Missouri Department of Revenue?

Chances are, if you did, you did not like what it said. If it relates to your driving license, here are a few pointers:

 

Do not ignore the letter.

Most letters from the Department of Revenue are not full of good news. If you have perfect conduct, the only contact you have from DOR about your driving privileges is a post card concerning the need to renew your license.

If you start to accumulate points, or are convicted of a few types of offenses, you get letters, usually threatening or notifying you of an upcoming problem.

If you read these carefully, which, unfortunately most of my clients do not, you will see that buried in the last couple of lines is a statement advising that if you do nothing, the suspension/revocation/denial will go into effect unless you file a timely appeal. Not only that, by design or accident, these letters are very wordy but say very little. So, you read them, but still don’t know what they mean or what you should do.

Contact an attorney who understands the process.

At the DOR, I dealt with numerous case types that competent attorneys would file on behalf of their clients (usually in response to letters). The scales are tipped in favor of the DOR, and against those who might ignore their mail. In the US, to have your license taken away, the government has to provide you with notice, and an opportunity for a hearing. If you ignore your mail, often you will lose your rights to contest the taking of your license at hearing. Indeed, the hearing might not take place at all. The end result can be a long wait until you can get your license back, having to take part in certain programs to get your license back, and costly periods where you must carry SR-22 insurance, and without getting the chance to say your piece.

Take action right away.

In order to do something about your letters and get an attorney on the case, you need to give yourself some time. This is not something that you want to rush around doing with 3 days left until the deadline. Being rushed limits the time you can take to consider if the attorney you want to hire is right for you. Also, being rushed can lead to poorer decisions. I do suggest that folks start looking for an attorney very soon after realizing that they need one. Cases do not have to be filed at the last minute, so, the sooner you hire someone, the sooner you can start to have piece of mind.

Can you really not drive for 10 years? How can I drive during this time?

I recently answered this question on a public forum where people ask lawyers questions. I also answer this question for callers once per week.

You can lose your license for 10 years in Missouri if you get convicted of DWI, DUID, or BAC in Missouri or many other states three times in your life. To be clear, any combination of the three conviction types, totaling three received in a lifetime, will result in Missouri denying you a driver’s license for 10 years.

You can seek what is called a “hardship license”, or to be technical and use the name in the Missouri statutes, a “limited driving privilege,” from a circuit court in Missouri if you file and pursue the correct type of case, and you are not ineligible.

Before I joined the DOR in 2013, the law was that, if you had a 10-year denial, you had to do a “hard walk” for 3 years before you could be eligible for a hardship. That hard walk was done away with before I got there. Now, as then, a person is eligible for LDP from “day zero” of such a denial (keep in mind that there are many eligibility requirements, but waiting 3 years is no longer among them).

At DOR, I dealt with dozens of open LDP cases at a time, and played my part at the hearings at a rate of about 10 per month. Of all the cases I handled, I only saw 2 unrepresented people successfully get their case on the dockets and before a judge. However, because neither I nor the judge could advise these people of what the law means, or what they should do next, they never actually had a hearing, and thus never got their LDPs.

And that is a perfect losing record for the unrepresented.

I know how to screen my clients for eligibility (so as not to waste their time and money), and how to get them a hearing before the judge as quickly as anyone (so as not to waste their time and money). Lawyers have a bad reputation for wasting clients’ time and money. Because I know exactly how to pursue these LDP cases, I can help people and and get them on the road as soon as possible.

Contact me to see if we should file your hardship case.

I also discuss the reinstatement process in another post, and give a few thoughts on getting ready for an LDP or reinstatement on this site.

DWI Expungement in Missouri

Missouri expungement law is a fast-changing area, with many positive changes set to go into effect in January 2018. Anyone with a record would probably like to know if their history can be “cleaned up.” Many people contact me wanting to know if they can get a DWI expunged. Expungement of a first-time DWI conviction in Missouri is possible.

If you are convicted of DWI in Missouri, you might be eligible for an expungement of the conviction if at least 10 years have passed since the conviction and this conviction is the only DWI you’ve had. Keep in mind that the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that these expungements can purge a DWI conviction, a license suspension, and/or a refusal from a driver’s record, all three of which may have arisen from a single arrest.

Some things in your history or “status” make it impossible to expunge a DWI according to the current law. You would not be eligible for expungement if you currently have, or have had, a commercial driver’s license (CDL), or have any later/subsequent or currently pending (in law-speak) “alcohol-related enforcement contacts.” Such contacts include refusals, alcohol-related license suspensions or revocations, DWI charges, or the like.

An example: if you had a DWI conviction 10 years ago, but had a refusal 7 years ago from a separate arrest, neither can be expunged. If you only had a DWI conviction 10 years ago, you’re likely to be able to have it removed.

Depending on your driving record, first time DWI expungement may mean the difference between getting a job you want, housing you like, financial aid you need, etc., and not.

Having your first-and-only DWI expunged is a necessity to some who have been wrestling with the after-affects of that one mistake. It might be a symbolic victory over the discretions of a younger self. Others have all but forgotten that this conviction is on their record, but now consider it a good idea to take up before the law, or their life’s plans, change.

I will speak to anyone about expungement, briefly, free of charge. I provide a low-cost, experienced expungement “check-up” and full consultation to those who want to see if they should go ahead with a full expungement case. If there is anything in the checks that makes you ineligible for expungement, that is where we stop. This is to save you time, money, and disappointment. Of course, the cost of the check-up is applied towards the total fees of a full expungement case if you chose me to help you.

I dealt with these cases on the “other side,” representing the Department of Revenue’s interest in court. I know how these cases work, and how to do them correctly.  You owe it to yourself to call an experienced DWI and driving privilege lawyer like myself in order to discuss whether or not expungement is possible.

DWI on I-70?

Plenty of people in and around the metro come to KC for its great sports and entertainment environment. If you live within 20 minutes of the sports complex, P&L, or your favorite hangouts, count yourself lucky. Many others have to get on the highway for significant mileage before arriving at the party, or getting back home.

With the end of the baseball season in the distance, and football just around the corner, keep in mind that there is a fair chance that you will be targeted for investigation if you are driving on I-70 at certain times, regardless if you came from the game or a bar.

Common reasons for being stopped include speeding, weaving, erratic speed, headlight/taillight out, license plate out, turn signal out, expired registration, or even following too close! Then, if there is something for the police to key in on once they talk to you, other consequences quickly come into play.

Not only that, highway stops and highway patrol investigations present their own challenges. We are prepared to meet them all, however.

In case you’re wondering, Cameron is an attorney licensed in Kansas AND Missouri.

We get out east to Booneville, and west to Topeka, give or take. If you have been cited on I-70 for moving violations, drug crimes, or DWI/DUI, give Cameron a call.

Back to School & Speed Limits

Just didn’t notice that the school year had begun? Usually do not drive through the zone during the posted school hours, but you did today?

You were only going 40 mph, but this happens to be 15 over because of the school zone.

A return to the school year means that law enforcement will be enforcing traffic laws in the school zones throughout the area.

If you get a ticket, call Cameron to discuss options.

Restricted driving privilege matters

Missouri statutes define a restricted driving privilege as follows:

“. . . a sixty-day driving privilege issued by the director of revenue following a suspension of driving privileges for the limited purpose of driving in connection with the driver’s business, occupation, employment, formal program of secondary, postsecondary or higher education, or for an alcohol education or treatment program or certified ignition interlock provider, or a ninety-day interlock restricted privilege issued by the director of revenue for the limited purpose of driving in connection with the driver’s business, occupation, employment, seeking medical treatment for such driver or a dependent family member, attending school or other institution of higher education, attending alcohol- or drug-treatment programs, seeking the required services of a certified ignition interlock provider, fulfilling court obligations, including required appearances and probation and parole obligations, religious services, the care of a child or children, including scheduled visitation or custodial obligations pursuant to a court order, fueling requirements for any vehicle utilized, and seeking basic nutritional requirements . . .”

Source: RSMO 302.010(20)

There are a number of ways that restricted driving privileges play into our representation of those facing DWI and other charges.

Call Cameron today to discuss them.

Labor Day and DWI – 2016

The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) together with law enforcement agencies nationwide will be implementing the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over 2016 campaign between Friday, August 19 and Labor Day Monday, September 5. This will be a time when DWI enforcement and visibility will be increased.

DWI is a preventable offense, one which negatively impacts the offender and many other innocent people.

At this time of the year, when so many are celebrating the end of summer by taking to the roads for one more long weekend of fun, it is important to be aware of the risks and impact of drunk driving, which includes “buzzed driving”.

Remember: Do not Drink and Drive.

 

Buzzed busted and broke

Has someone made a complaint about your family member’s driving?

Did you know that you may need to go to court to convince a judge that you should keep your license? Difficulties in mental or physical conditions that come to the attention of certain people can make this a reality. However, under some circumstances theses cases are “winnable,” with the right strategy.

Call Cameron today to discuss your challenging license case.

Ignition Interlock Devices

Ignition interlock, car breathalyzer, or “blow thingie.”

No matter what name you know this device by, it can be an important part of you life if you have been arrested for DWI.

Most license sanctions for alcohol-related arrests (whether criminal or civil) are met by some period of voluntary or compulsory period where the person cannot drive a car unless it is equipped with one.

First time DWI arrests where there is a 90 day period of suspension can be served under “restricted driving privilege” if the driver installs an ignition interlock device. However, certain steps must be taken in time, otherwise the driver loses this ability and must do at least 30 days without their license.

Having a license suspension means that you will need to have it “reinstated” at some point. Those with certain “priors” will need to serve 6 months after reinstatement with an ignition interlock device.

Call Cameron today to discuss your situation, and see if, and when, you should get an ignition interlock device.

 

Lost Car Title?

Did you know that you may need to go to court to convince a judge that you have title to your vehicle? Truly. However, theses cases are “winnable,” with the right strategy.

Call Cameron today to discuss your challenging vehicle titling issues.

Kansas v. Missouri – Points or Moving Violation?

Missouri and Kansas differ in how they regulate drivers.

Missouri operates on a points system. Generally, getting 8 points in 18 months, or 12 in 12 months results in a suspension of your license.

Kansas uses a system of “moving violations,” any three of which within 12 months will result in a suspension of your license. K.S.A. 92-52-9 outlines the violations comprising the “moving violations.”

Thus, in theory, it is possible to receive three 2-point violations in Missouri and not be suspended, but three similar moving violations in Kansas could result in a suspension.

Many facts must be taken into account before these generalities can be applied to your specific situation (like, where you are licensed and where you are cited), so call today to discuss your traffic tickets.

 

Suspensions of License

You can lose your license for numerous reasons, including:

Administrative DWI suspensions and revocations (BAC result), administrative hearing and bench trials de novo
Refusal to submit to chemical test
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID)
Zero tolerance violations (for underage drivers)
Mandatory Insurance, Security suspension, and failure to file an accident report
Medical fitness to drive citation (medical/physical exam, written/skills test)
Limited driving privileges during denials of 1-10 years
Child support suspensions for failure to pay
Ignition interlock device tempering and failure to maintain
Failure to Appear suspensions
License issuance denials
Out-of-state interaction with Missouri license status
Missouri issues interacting with out-of state license status
Points suspensions (alcohol and non-alcohol related)

If you get a letter from the DOR about your license, call Cameron!

5 and 10 Year Denials

Being convicted more than once for DWI can result in a long-term loss of license.

Two qualifying DWI convictions within 5 years will get you a 5 year denial.

Three qualifying convictions lifetime will get you a 10 year denial.

It is important to challenge the legality of the DWI charge in order to prevent the convictions.

During a denial, it is possible to obtain limited driving privileges if a court orders them.

Near the end of a denial, or after the prescribed time, you can get your license reinstated if a court orders it.

However, none of these things is automatic.

Consult with Cameron today to see if you are in need of legal help.

DWI? Act immediately to preserve your rights.

Those arrested in Missouri for DWI face both criminal charges and civil “sanctions” as a result.

Many people are at least somewhat familiar with court procedure and will continue their criminal case until the court denies further attempts.

You must keep in mind that in Missouri, the Department of Revenue can suspend or revoke your license starting as soon as 15 days after your arrest for DWI.

If you received a notice like this one (http://dor.mo.gov/forms/2385.pdf) when you were arrested, or even if you are not sure if you did or not, you must act quickly to preserve your right to appeal the administrative suspension.

Having an attorney with the experience to appeal your suspension can mean the difference between having a chance at keeping your license, and losing it without the right to appeal.