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. 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 drivers license for up to 90 days (first offense).
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. Hopefully you have retained the services of an experienced Missouri DWI Attorney to represent you.
10. Pre-Trial Conference
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.
Contact us online or call 314.621.0622 (877.621.0622 Toll Free) for a FREE consultation and learn how the law applies to your specific situation. As former police officers and a former prosecuting attorney, we know potential pitfalls in the investigative process. As criminal defense attorneys, we know how to afford you protection under the law. Our education and experience mak a difference.
The Missouri Criminal Defense Attorneys of Millikan Wright LLC focus serving the needs of the greater St. Louis Metropolitan area. On the Missouri side, our criminal lawyers defend people in St. Louis city, St. Louis county, Jefferson county, Franklin county, St. Charles county, and Lincoln county. On the Illinois side, our attorneys represent people hurt in Madison county, St. Clair county and Monroe county.