Perhaps you were out celebrating the retirement of a co-worker and had a couple of alcoholic drinks. On the way home, law enforcement stopped you on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. 

This is your first offense, and the penalties include loss of driving privileges. How will you manage? 

Looking at the issues 

As a first-time offender convicted of driving while intoxicated, or DWI, you would face both criminal and administrative penalties that include a minimum 90-day driver’s license suspension, fines of up to $1,000, community service, an increase in your auto insurance rate and even the possibility of jail time. The state of Missouri also adds points to your record. 

Challenging your arrest 

Despite the DWI charge and the arrest, both of which have probably made you very nervous, pleading guilty is not a given. You can fight the charge. 

To begin with, your defense would include challenging the stop itself, followed by challenging the field sobriety tests and breath test machine accuracy. In defending a driver charged with DWI, it is not uncommon to review a police car dash-cam video, take a deposition from the law enforcement officer who made the arrest and even research his or her record of service. 

Retrieving your license 

When you think about getting to work, picking up groceries, taking children to after-school activities and arriving on time for meetings or appointments, you realize the importance of your driving privileges and how debilitating a license suspension would be. However, you have 15 days from the suspension date to request an administrative hearing, and you may qualify for a Restricted Driving Privilege. 

Settling your case 

Remember that you have rights, and in fighting the DWI charge, you can petition the circuit court for a review if the administrative hearing does not result in the restoration of your license. Sometimes a successful defense requires more than one plan of attack, and you want the best outcome possible for your case.