Court Process after a DWI Arrest
Call an Experienced St. Louis DWI Lawyer
DWI arrest procedures in St. Louis are based, in part, on recommendations
by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Police officers try to gather as much evidence as possible to show your
level of impairment while driving. At Millikan Wright, LLC, our experienced
DWI attorneys can guide those charged with DWI through both the administrative hearing
pertaining to your driving privileges and the DWI court process pertaining
to your personal freedom and criminal history. It is important to have
an experienced lawyer acting on your behalf in these cases, as we are
often able to discover errors related to the prosecution of your case
that may be used in your defense.
As former police officers and a former prosecuting attorney, we have seen firsthand the mistakes made during the evidence collection
and arrest process.
While each police department operates differently, this is a typical DWI
arrest procedure in St. Louis:
1. Driving Case
Most police officers will try to establish a "driving case",
meaning the officer observed you while driving. Most of the time these
driving cases act as the probable cause for making a
traffic stop and investigating further. Driving cases may include:
speeding , driving too slow, weaving, striking fixed objects or using roadside curbs
to guide the vehicle.
2. Observation of Person
The officer will investigate further to see if you have
physical indicators to possible intoxication, including slurred speech, watery or blood shot
eyes and the order of consumed alcoholic drinks.
3. Field Sobriety Tests
The officer will ask you perform a few roadside
field sobriety tests to show physical impairment. Standard tests include the Horizontal Gaze
Nystagmus Test, The Walk and Turn and The One Leg Stand Test. These tests
involve concentration, balance and some basic physical stamina. These
tests are voluntary.
4. Portable/Preliminary Breath Test (PBT)
The officer may ask you to blow into a handheld breath test, known as a
PBT. This device is not usually carefully calibrated or maintained as well
as the larger, official breathalyzer at the police department. This is
just another tool to indicate consumption of alcohol.
5. Arrest and Subsequent Search
If the officer believes you are intoxicated or cannot safely operate your
vehicle, you will be arrested and taken to the police department for further
testing. You and your vehicle will likely be searched subsequent to an arrest.
6. Testing for Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)
At the police department you will be tested to determine the blood alcohol
content (BAC) in your blood. This is usually done via a breathalyzer breath
test, but also include testing via blood and/or urine. Failure to submit to a
BAC test will result in loss of your driver's license for a year. A DWI conviction
will result in loss of your driver's license for up to 90 days (first
7. Charged with DWI
If you are 21 years old or older and your BAC is 0.08 or higher, you will
be charged with
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) . If you are under 21 years old and your BAC is 0.02 or higher, you will
be charged with DWI.
You will be issued a summons to appear in court to enter a plea of guilty
or not guilty.
This is your first appearance in court to enter a plea of guilty or not
guilty. Conditions of your release, amount of bail, or whether you will
remain in jail without bail will be determined by the Judge at the arraignment.
Hopefully you have retained the services of an experienced Missouri DWI
Attorney to represent you.
11. Suppression Hearing
Motions are made by your attorney to have evidence suppressed from being
considered in the criminal DWI case against you.
13. Administrative Hearing
This is the
administrative case that occurs separately from the criminal charge. The administrative hearing
only deals with the suspension of your driving privileges.
When you have been
charged with DWI , you are entitled to an administrative hearing before the Department of
Revenue. This is your opportunity to defend yourself against the civil
aspects of the DWI charge. At the administrative hearing, a Hearing Officer
will make a ruling on whether your driver's license should be suspended,
revoked, or if the charges against you should be dismissed.
The decisions made in your administrative hearing relate to that hearing
only, and do not apply to any criminal DWI charges against you.
When you have been accused of driving while intoxicated, you need an experienced
and aggressive DWI defense attorney on your side. Our firm knows hiring
the best possible defense for your case takes time and consideration,
and welcome any questions or concerns you may have.
free case consultations to speak with you about your case,
how the law applies, and why Millikan Wright, LLC is the right choice
for you. Let our education and experience make a difference on your behalf!