What Causes a License Suspension?
There are quite a few ways to get your drivers' license suspended or revoked in the state of Missouri. The most common way is failure to pay a traffic ticket. When you are issued a traffic ticket you are given a court date and, if you miss that court date, the court sends a notice by mail that you have 30 days to appear. If you don't appear in those 30 days the court will send a notice to the Department of Revenue to suspend your license. As a result, more than a few people are driving on suspended licenses and not even aware of it because they forgot about a ticket and missed a couple of notices.
Point accumulation is another common way to get a license suspension or revocation. The state of Missouri issues points for traffic violations. If you accumulate 8 or more points in 18 months your license will be suspended for 30, 60 or 90 days. If you accumulate 12 points in 18 months, 18 points in 24 months or 24 points in 36 months your license will be revoked for 1 year. The following are some of the other reasons for a license suspension or revocation:
- Failure to pay child support
- Refusing a breathalyzer or drug test
- A medical condition affecting the ability to drive
- Using false information to obtain a drivers' license
- A conviction of minor in possession of alcohol
- Stealing fuel
- Missing a court appearance
- Not filing an accident report
- Failure to comply with a court order
- A no insurance accident in which you do not pay for damages
- Striking a highway worker or first responder
What Are the Consequences of Driving While Suspended?
Driving while suspended is a 12 point violation under the Missouri point system. That means it is an automatic 1 year revocation. Additionally, Missouri Rev. Sta. § 321.321 details the punishment for a driving while suspended conviction. The 1st offense is a class D misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $500. The 2nd and 3rd offenses are class A misdemeanors with a possible punishment of up to 1 year in jail and/or a $2000 fine. The 4th offense, provided that the previous 3 occurred in the preceding 10 year period, is a class E felony. The mandatory minimum punishment for this is 48 consecutive hours in jail or 40 hours of community service over a period of at least 10 days. The maximum punishment is 4 years in prison and/or a $10000 fine. In certain situations involving prior alcohol related contacts or convictions, the 3rd offense can be a class E felony. Unlike some other offenses, a driving while suspended conviction cannot be removed from your driving record.
How Can You Fix a Driving While Suspended Violation?
The first step to fixing a driving while suspended violation is to figure out why you were suspended in the first place. If you have a Missouri license you can call the Department of Revenue at 573-526-2407. If you are from another state you will need to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles for that state. As an experienced traffic lawyer, Ruth Beerup can help you with this if you hire her to handle your case.
The next step to fixing a driving while suspended violation is to get your license valid. All the different ways of getting a license suspended have different ways of getting the license valid again. Sometimes it is as easy as clearing all your old traffic tickets. Use caution here. If you plead guilty and pay the fines on old tickets you will be given points for them. You could easily find yourself with a point accumulation suspension right when you need it least. The best bet here is to hire a lawyer to get your old tickets resolved into no point non-moving violations. Sometimes it is more difficult to get your license valid. If you have an alcohol related suspension there could be several things you need to do such as complete a substance awareness traffic offender program (SATOP), file an SR-22 proof of insurance and maybe even install and use an ignition interlock device. In her 25 years of practicing criminal defense and traffic law, Ruth has dealt with every kind of suspension and knows how to get you valid..
The final step to fixing a driving while suspended violation is to hire a good traffic lawyer who can negotiate on your behalf. Prosecutors can be tough, and if you try to resolve your case on your own you are unlikely to have much luck. An experienced traffic lawyer like Ruth has a much better chance to get your license valid and reduce your driving while suspended charge to a non-moving no point violation. Give her a call to discuss your case. She can help you at any stage of the process. The consultation is free and she can give you information about the specifics of your case and some options on how to get you back on the road legally.