Written by: Christopher Yotz
In Missouri, the Department of Revenue will deny issuance of a license to you for a period of 5 or 10 years if you have been convicted too many times of DWI. In order to get your license back after that period you must file a civil law suit against the Department of Revenue. While it is possible that this suit can be filed and prosecuted on your own I would recommend that you obtain the services of an attorney to do the work for you.
If you get convicted of DWI for a second time within 5 years of your first conviction then the Department of Revenue will deny your ability to get a license for 5 years. In the past when this denial period ended you could simply get reinstated through the Department. However, after some statutory changes in Missouri you now have to file a civil suit in the county where your last conviction occurred in order to be reinstated.
If you are convicted a third or subsequent time for DWI then the Department will deny your ability to obtain a license for 10 years. As with a 5 year denial, you have to file suit against the Department in the county where your last conviction occurred in order to obtain a reinstatement of your license.
In suits to obtain reinstatement of your license after both a 5 and 10 year denial you have to meet certain criteria. You must not have been convicted of drug or alcohol charges during the period of denial (either the past 5 or 10 years). If you did get convicted of such charges during that period then the clock starts over. You must also show that you are no longer a danger to society.
Also, for the above reinstatements you must be otherwise eligible to obtain a license. Therefore, you must have completed a SATOP class for the conviction that caused the denial of your license. You must also not be serving a period of suspension for moving violations occurring during the denial period. I often see situations where people continued to try and drive during their denial period and get charged for Driving While Revoked along with other charges. This can cause additional license suspensions.
You must obtain a criminal background check as part of a suit to obtain your license after a 5 or 10 year denial. This is done by submitting finger print cards to the Missouri Highway Patrol. The Highway Patrol then sends the results of this background check to the Department of Revenue and the court for use at the hearing for reinstatement.
There will be a live court hearing for you, the plaintiff, through your attorney (hopefully) to present evidence to the court showing that you deserve to have your license reinstated. Your attorney will have to present evidence to satisfy the statutory criteria required for you to obtain your reinstatement. Therefore, you will actually have to appear in court and testify.
Please keep in mind as well that according to the statute you may not be able to obtain the above reinstatement more than once. Therefore, if after getting a reinstatement your license is denied again for DWI convictions then that denial may be for life. I heard the unfortunate story of a person who received a reinstatement of her license after a 10 year denial and went out to celebrate. She drank at that celebration and got pulled over and arrested for DWI. This would result in a new 10 year denial. However, since she could not pursue a suit for reinstatement for a second time then that new 10 year denial is effectively a denial for life.