Losing the freedom and self-sufficiency that comes with having a driver's license is difficult, and most people are eager to get their license reinstated at the earliest opportunity. Unfortunately, dealing with the state bureaucracy can be intimidating and many people don't know where to start. For most suspensions and revocations, the process is actually fairly easy. If you lost your license because of point accumulation, a motor vehicle accident judgement, motor fuel theft, a child support arrearage, failure to maintain insurance, etc. you can visit the Missouri Department of Revenue page and use the helpful chart they provide to figure out what forms you need to fill out and how much you will have to pay. There is no need to hire a lawyer as, while the process may be complicated, no specialized training or knowledge is required to complete it. It is a different matter, however, if you are seeking a reinstatement after a 5- or 10-year denial.
5- or 10-Year Denial
If you are convicted of DWI twice in a 5 year period your license will be suspended for 5 years, and three convictions in any period of time will result in a 10-year suspension. Getting your license back after either of these is not as simple as filling out a few forms. Instead, it is necessary to get an order of reinstatement from the county in which your last DWI conviction occurred, and this order requires an in-person hearing in front of a judge. It is highly recommended that you hire a lawyer to help you with this hearing. The Department of Revenue will have an attorney present and they, along with the judge, will question you to determine if you have changed your habits and are a good candidate for a reinstatement.
In addition to the hearing, you will have to submit to a criminal history check with the Missouri Highway Patrol, install an ignition interlock device, complete a Substance Awareness Traffic Program (SATOP) and file proof of insurance (SR-22).
Limited Driving Privilege
When your license has been suspended but you are not yet eligible for a reinstatement you may be able to apply for a limited driving privilege (LDP), also known as a hardship license. This will allow you to travel to work, medical treatment, school, substance abuse treatment programs and any other place the court thinks you may need to go. Much like a reinstatement, if you are suspended or revoked because of a point violation you can request an LDP by visiting the Missouri Department of Revenue page and filling out a form. An LDP subsequent to a 5- or 10-year denial is harder.
To get an LDP when you are serving a 5- or 10-year denial you must petition the court in the county where you live or work. You will need to convince the court that you have changed the habits and conduct that led to the denial to the extent that you no longer pose a threat to the public safety of the state. You will also need to show that you have no felony convictions involving a motor vehicle in the past 5 years, no law enforcement alcohol contacts since the one that led to the denial, no unpaid traffic tickets or fines, no unpaid judgements for accidents and that you have served your 45 or 90 day “hard walk” suspension. In some instances a person who is not eligible for an LDP through a court petition may be able to attend a DWI court program to obtain one.
If you are granted the LDP you must install a Ignition Interlock Device with a camera and a GPS in your vehicle and maintain an SR-22 Proof of Financial Responsibility (insurance). You must also avoid accumulating any points on your license as that will end the limited driving privilege. Getting and maintaining a limited driving privilege is not easy. In fact, the Department of Revenue website suggests that you seek the assistance of an attorney when filing your petition. St. Charles based criminal defense attorney Ruth Beerup has decades of experience dealing with license reinstatements and limited driving privilege petitions. Give her a call or text if you have any questions or want to get the process started.