While some motorists regard driving as a basic right, the fact is that operating a motor vehicle is a privilege that must be earned and maintained by demonstrating safe and lawful driving. Under certain circumstances, an individual's Missouri driver's license may be suspended or revoked for a specific length of time, depending on the person's driving record or history, and the particular violation(s).
REASONS FOR DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS
There are a variety of reasons why your Missouri driver's license might be suspended. Some of these are related to specific driving violations, while others may be due to violation of other State laws. Following are some of the most common reasons for a Missouri driver's license to be suspended or revoked.
- Excessive Moving Violations. The state of Missouri operates on a point system, in which drivers accumulate points on their license for every moving violation they commit. If you accumulate 8 or more points within 18 months your license will be suspended for a month, 12 or more points in 12 months, 18 or more in 24 months or 24 or more points in 36 months, your license will be suspended for a year.
- Driving Under the Influence. Your Missouri driver's license will be suspended if you are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The length of the suspension depends on the severity of the violation and whether it is a first or repeat offense. A first time offense will see your license being suspended for a month, after which you may be allowed a restricted driving license. A second time offense - regardless of the time in between convictions - will result in your license being revoked. If a second offense is committed within a five year period, there will be license denial for five years as well. If you are convicted of a third offense of DUI or excessive blood alcohol content or a combination of both, your license denial period will be 10 years. After this time your driving privilege can only be restored by a court order. If you refuse to take the chemical test your license will be revoked for a year.
- Driving with a Suspended License or no License. Driving with a suspended license will lead to an increase in the length of the suspension, and you may also be imprisoned for up to five years. The duration of the additional suspension varies depending on the reason for the underlying suspension. Your driver's license may also be suspended if you do not have your license with you while you are driving.
- Driving without Insurance. All motor vehicles driven in Missouri must be properly insured. Failure to provide proof of valid auto insurance can result in your license being suspended for up to a year.
- Other Driving-Related Violations. Your Missouri driver's license may also be suspended if you engage in reckless driving, are found to be at fault in a fatal accident, or if you abandon your vehicle on a public highway. Other reasons include stealing a motor vehicle or any part of a motor vehicle, stealing gas, speeding, leaving the scene of an accident without giving aid or your identity, being convicted of reckless driving three times in one year, unlawful use of either your driver's license or another's to buy liquor, fleeing from the police, using a motor vehicle to commit a crime and homicide involving a motor vehicle.
- Physical or Psychological Disqualification. The Motor Vehicle and Driver License Office can order a re-examination of any person who may not be fit to drive. An individual's driving privileges may be suspended if the re-examination finds they are physically or psychologically unable to drive safely.
- Non-Driving Reasons for License Suspension. A variety of non-driving violations or issues can result in your license being suspended. These include: not responding to a Motor Vehicle and Driver License notice or not appearing in court; failing to pay traffic tickets, fines or surcharges; and not paying child support.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR MISSOURI DRIVER'S LICENSE IS SUSPENDED
Having your Missouri driver's license suspended is a serious matter, and it is essential to adhere to State law in the event that your license is suspended. If you believe your license may be suspended due to one of the reasons listed above it is advisable to speak with a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer.
The most important things to be aware of following a license suspension are:
- If your license has not already been taken away from you in court, you must surrender it to the Missouri Motor Vehicle and Driver License. You can surrender your license in person at a Branch Office, or mail it to:
Driver License Bureau 301 West High Street - Room 470 Jefferson City, MO, 65105-0200
- While your license is suspended, you are not permitted to drive. If you are found driving with a suspended license, you may be imprisoned for up to five years, and/or the length of your suspension may be increased.
- After your suspension is over, you will receive a written notice of restoration, with instructions on how to restore your license. Do not drive until you have completed the necessary steps and received a valid, replacement license from the Missouri MVDL.
- If you have completed a minimum of 30 day suspension, you may apply for a restricted driving permit if you have to go to work, school or to receive medical treatment. You will have to file form SR-22 for this unless you are a minor. This permit is valid for 60 days.
- If you are not eligible for a new license and have to driver for more than 60 days you may apply for a Missouri Limited Driving Privilege Permit (LDP). You will need to fill up an application form and submit it to the MVDL. Your application will be processed within 5 working days. Under Missouri law, you can only receive one LDP during a five year period. An LDP does not permit you to authorize a non commercial vehicle. Call (573) 526-2407 to find out if you are eligible for an LDP. More information on LDP can be found here.
- If you are considered a Habitual Offender of DUI's you will not be able to receive an LDP without having an ignition interlock device fixed on your vehicle. You will have to file your application in the circuit court of the county where you reside, if this is the case.
APPEALING A SUSPENSION
If you receive a notice of suspension from the MVDL, and you wish to challenge the suspension, you may request a hearing in court. An administrative law judge or the MVDL Chief Administrator will hear your case, and determine whether your driver's license should be suspended or not. In addition, drivers whose license may be suspended due to accumulating excessive points may be eligible to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program. Completing a Driver Improvement Program brings down total points to four on the current driving record, and in some cases can enable an individual to avoid having his license suspended.
It is also a good idea to seek the advice of a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer, based on the reason for the suspension.
RESTORING YOUR LICENSE
You will receive a notice from the MVDL after you have completed your suspension period. The notice will include complete instructions regarding how to get your license back. The procedure to reinstate your license will depend on the offense which you were charged with. For instance, if you lost your license due to no insurance, you will need to file an SR-22 insurance form and pay $20. However, if you lost your license because you refused to take a blood/alcohol/drug test you will need to attend a Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program, file SR-22 and pay an additional fee of $45. Generally, you will need to:
- Pay a Limited Driving Privilege The fee can be paid in person at a
Driver License Bureau Truman State Office Building 301 West High Street, Room 470 Jefferson City, Missouri Telephone: (573) 526-2407
Office Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30-5:30 (except state office closings)
You can also mail a check or money order payable to:
Driver License Bureau P.O. Box 200 Jefferson City, Missouri 65105-0200
- If your driving license was revoked or expired for more than six months you will need to apply for a standard license renewal to obtain a new license. You will have to undergo all required tests for this.
Note that after your license is restored, you will be subject to a probation period during which any new violations may result in an additional suspension of your Missouri driver's license.