Being Pulled Over for DUI / DWI

If you encounter a checkpoint or are pulled over from the street, you could be arrested for a DWI/DUI if a police officer assumes that there is probable cause that you are driving while under the influence of alcohol. The arrest hinges upon the officer’s evidence for probable cause, which is a higher standard of evidence beyond simply having a reasonable suspicion that a driver might be intoxicated. Officers will rely on a range of tests at the scene to assess whether there is probable cause for an arrest. These include field sobriety tests and portable breathalyzers.

In Missouri, two sections of law come into play that will affect a possible criminal charge and an administrative suspension of your license privileges.

First, under criminal law, you will be issued a ticket for the fact that you were impaired while driving a vehicle. If you are convicted of this violation, you will be assessed points against your license. Second, under administrative law, your license can be suspended or revoked if you submit to a breathalyzer test and your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is over the legal limit of .08; or

if you refuse to take the breathalyzer test. This suspense is automatic when excess BAC levels are detected. So even if you are successful in contesting a criminal charge, you still could face the loss of your license for at least 90 days for a first-time DWI or BAC conviction.

The officer will issue a Notice of Suspension/Revocation of Driving Privilege. If the officer requests that you hand over your license, you will also be issued a temporary 15-day Driving Permit.

You thus have only 15 days to request an administrative hearing. If you don’t act fast, the arresting officer’s testimony will be the only record of the facts surrounding your arrest.

In Kansas, If you refuse the preliminary breathalyzer test at the scene, you’ll be likely ticketed and fined $150.   If you are arrested at the scene, you will be taken to the police station for the official breathalyzer test. Higher fines and charges accrue if you refuse this breathalyzer test, which provides the main evidence in court leading to a conviction.

While field sobriety tests are not mandatory in either Kansas or Missouri nor admissible in court, if you refuse these tests you will likely raise further suspicions of an arresting officer.