If you've recently been involved in a car crash in Missouri, you may be dismayed to learn that your driver's license is subject to suspension for your failure to submit to a blood or chemical sobriety test at the scene of the crash. Without a valid driver's license, you may be without a way to transport yourself to and from work, your child's school, or other important places -- and being caught driving with a suspended license could land you in jail, even if you're later able to successfully disprove any claim that you were intoxicated at the time of the crash. What are your options if you believe your license is being unfairly or unlawfully revoked? Read on to learn more about this provision of Missouri law, as well as your reinstatement rights after your license has been suspended on this basis.
When can your license be suspended following a car crash?
In most cases, an individual's state-issued driver's license may only be suspended with proper notice and upon conviction of a crime or infraction -- for example, as part of a guilty plea agreement for a charge of drunk driving, or after you've received one too many speeding tickets within a short period of time. However, Missouri (along with some other states) also prescribes a mandatory driver's license suspension for those who are suspected of drunk driving but who refuse to take a sobriety test at the scene of the accident or arrest. This "administrative alcohol suspension" may last anywhere from 30 days to a full year, depending upon the circumstances of the underlying traffic infraction and the number of DUI arrests or convictions you've had over the past several years.
Although most usually associate administrative alcohol suspensions with DUI convictions, an individual can be subject to a license suspension without ever being arrested for driving under the influence. In some cases, mere suspicion of alcohol involvement in a car crash (and a refusal to take a breathalyzer at the scene) could lead to a license suspension.
What are your options if your Missouri driver's license is being threatened with suspension after a car accident?
Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take after your accident to improve the odds of walking away with your driver's license intact.
Your first step should be to request a hearing on the suspension -- especially if you weren't arrested for DUI. The trial court will schedule a hearing and require the state to present evidence supporting their claim that your license should be suspended. If the state fails to appear at this hearing or cannot provide sufficient evidence of alcohol intoxication, it's unlikely your license will be suspended.
If the state does carry its burden of proof, you may still be able to plead your case by requesting a hardship license that will allow you to travel to and from work or school while your license is suspended. You'll also be given some lead time to make arrangements, as the license suspension will go into effect 15 days from the mailing of the final suspension order.
For a car accident lawyer, contact a lawyer such as Master Weinstein Moyer PC.