Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we answer basic questions that we get on a regular basis. More advanced questions are answered in the Blog and Videos section or under the specific practice area you’re researching. If all else fails and you can’t find an answer to your question, give us a call at (314) 270-2273.

In Auto Accident Cases, the process of getting to recovery can be very frustrating.  Most frustration comes from not knowing what to expect next.

Multiplying your frustration are stories of people that have had their case settled in just a few months or even weeks. Some cases can be resolved quickly, but whether yours does depends on many factors. It is important to understand the stages so that you can better understand your case and know what to expect.

Most cases have seven stages: (1) injury, (2) treatment, (3) investigation, (4) negotiations, (5) filing the lawsuit, (6) mediation, and (7) trial.

Sure, you can always refuse to take a breathalyzer test, but it may just make things worse.

In Missouri, a refusal to take a breathalyzer test can result in a license suspension for 1 year.  In addition, if you take your case to trial but have refused the breathalyzer test, the jury may use this against you.

Finally, even if you refuse, the officer can still get a warrant to have your blood drawn.  Some counties and municipalities in Missouri have even created laws allowing officers to draw your blood without your permission or a warrant.  The constitutionality of officers taking your blood without your permission is still up in the air, as the Missouri Supreme Court has yet to rule on the issue.

Thus, even though you may legally refuse a breathalyzer test, it may be in vein.

Below is a list of possible penalties if you’re convicted of Driving While Intoxicated.  Penalties can be severe for first time offenders, but offenses become progressively worse for subsequent convictions.

  • 1st Conviction: Up to a year in jail, or by a fine between $600 and $2,100, or both.  Driver’s license suspended for 90 days.
  • 2nd Conviction (within five years): Mandatory jail time of at least five days, but up to one year, or instead, mandatory community service for at least 30 days.  Mandatory fine of between $1,100 and $5,100.  Driver’s license revoked for a year.
  • 3rd Conviction: Mandatory jail time of at least 60 days, but up to one year.  Mandatory fine of between $2,100 and $10,100.  Driver’s license revoked for three years.
  • 4th or Subsequent Conviction: Counts as a “Class C felony.”  Mandatory jail time of at least one year, but up to ten years.  Mandatory fine of between $4,100 and $10,100.  Driver’s license revoked for five years.

Convicted drunk drivers will have a criminal record.  Unless expunged, a drunk driving conviction may remain on your record forever.  Therefore, this information will be available to employers, credit bureaus, and government agencies to see.  This is why you should contact an experience DWI attorney immediately.

The Point System Violation Description Table published by the Missouri Department of Revenue can be found here.

It’s hard to speak for other Missouri DWI lawyers, but I charge $750.  You can expect to pay in the range of $500-$2,000.

Maybe you’ve had a few too many tickets lately.  Want to know how many points are on your driving record?  It’s easy to find out.

Just call (573) 526-2407 to find out how many points you have on your record or send an email to dlbmail@dor.mo.gov.

A lawyer can get you a printout, but this will cost you about $50.00.

If you are required to have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed on your vehicle, the IID must be maintained for six months from the reinstatement date. You must report to a certified IID vendor each month for maintenance to ensure the device is working properly.

In the case that you have a Limited Driving Privilege (LDP) and an IID installed, the IID must be maintained for the duration of the LDP.

A person arrested for driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher is processed administratively as well as criminally. Minors arrested or stopped with .020% or more blood alcohol content are also subject to the administrative sanctions under section 302.500 through 302.540.

The arresting officer completes and sends information to the Department of Revenue, including the following.

  1. Alcohol Influence Report form (AIR).
  2. Missouri Uniform Complaint and Summons, or warrant, if applicable.
  3. Notice of Suspension/Revocation of Driving Privilege and Temporary 15-Day Driving Permit (this will only be issued if the individual’s license is taken).
  4. Missouri Driver License, if secured.

You have 15 days from the date the Notice of Suspension/Revocation is issued to request an administrative hearing.

If requested, a hearing is scheduled by the Department of Revenue in the county of arrest.  In some instances, the hearing may be held by telephone.

In most cases, the administrative records are sufficient to serve as the arresting officer’s testimony during the administrative hearing. In some instances, however, the arresting officer may be subpoenaed to appear.

First Convictions

A first-time DWI or BAC conviction results in a 30-day suspension. After the 30-day suspension, the driver may receive a 60-day restricted driving privilege. The driver is eligible for full reinstatement after 90 days if all reinstatement requirements are met. A person convicted of operating a commercial motor vehicle while his or her alcohol content is .04% will be assessed 2 points and disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for one year.

Multiple  Convictions

A driver convicted of a second alcohol offense, regardless of the length of time between convictions, is normally revoked for a period of one year. A driver convicted a second time for an alcohol offense within a five-year period may also receive a five-year license denial.

A 10-year license denial is imposed against any individual convicted three or more times for an alcohol offense. After ten years, the privilege to drive can be restored only by court order.

It is safe to assume, at least for the near future, yes.

Nutshell Explanation

Medicare considers medpay as primary insurance coverage and Medicare as secondary.   See 42 USC 1395y(b)(2)(A).  Medicare will be entitled to that portion of medpay at 100%.  Once your liability case settles and you have your conditional payment list from Medicare, Medicare requests both the third party settlement information and the amount of medpay benefits available to your client.  Although Medicare reduces its liens for attorney fees and costs, it only determines the reduction on the amount of the payments after medpay benefits have been subtracted out of the rest of the lien.

Detailed Explanation

Neither the Medicare statutes nor accompanying federal regulations specifically address the issue as to the applicability of the Medicare super lien to med pay coverage.  Indeed, the language of 42 C.F.R. 411.26 indicates that the lien (referred to as a subrogation interest) is directed to a “third party payor” suggesting that it is directed to tort feasors or their liability insurance. However, the comments to the 1980 amendments to the Medicare statute clearly reflect that the legislature intended Medicare to be the secondary payor, not the primary payor. If it cannot assert its lienagainst MPC payments, it becomes the primary payor, and MPC becomes the secondary payor.

While the courts have not directly addressed the issue with regards to MPC coverage, the general proposition that Medicare is to be the secondary payor is strongly reinforced in United States v. Grier, 816 F.Supp. 1313 (W.D. Wis. 1993), which concluded that to allow a health insurance company to have subrogation rights ahead of Medicare’s subrogation right would make Medicare the primary payor. In keeping with the legislative intent of the Medicare statutes, it is our opinion that Medicare liens should be protected on MPC payments until the courts direct otherwise.

Example

For instance, assume the final payments from Medicare totaled $1,250.00.  If you have no medpay coverage, Medicare may require you to pay back $800.00 after considering attorney fees and costs.   However, if you have conditional payments of $1,250.00 and $1,000.00 worth of medpay received, then Medicare will consider only $250 to figure the reduction for attorney fees and costs.  Once Medicare considers the reduction on only the $250.00, the reduced amount may be $150 based on your settlement. You would then owe Medicare $1,150.00 for its total lien.

Quite frankly, no.

§379.204.4 gives an automobile insurer a subrogation right for payments made under uninsured motorist coverage (not med pay).  This has been confirmed in <em>Kroeker v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company</em>, 466 S.W.2d 105 (Mo.App.W.D. 1971).  In those circumstances the insured is the real party in interest and must therefore bring any subrogation suit in their own name.

By statute the subrogation interest of an uninsured motorist carrier can be asserted only against the tort feasor.  As such, there is no subrogation interest against med pay payments.

Generally, a preliminary hearing is where a judge decides whether there’s enough evidence to make you stand trial on the charges filed against you. The judge’s decision at a preliminary hearing is like the decision a grand jury makes in deciding whether to return an indictment against you.

Essentially, it answers two questions:

  1. Did the alleged crimes occur within the court’s jurisdiction?
  2. Is there probable cause to believe that the defendant committed the crimes in question?

Whether there is probable cause is a very low hurdle to meet.  Think of it like “reason to believe.” It doesn’t rise anywhere near the level of “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” or even “preponderance of the evidence,” which is the standard used in civil cases.  In most jurisdictions, the judge is just a rubber stamp for the prosecution.

These terms are all acronyms that refer to the offense commonly known as “drunk driving.”  Different states have slightly different names for the crime.  Many states, including Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Kansas, and Oklahoma use the phrase “driving under the influence” or DUI.  Iowa uses the phrase “operating while intoxicated” or OWI.  Like Nebraska and Arkansas, Missouri law uses the phrase “driving while intoxicated,” so the term DWI is most commonly used here.

Under Implied Consent Laws

Your Missouri drivers license (or your right to drive in Missouri if you do not have a valid Missouri operators license) may be revoked for one year under implied consent law for refusing to submit to a chemical (breath) test.  If you failed a breath test (or other chemical test), you generally face a shorter suspension / revocation (depending on your five year DWI history).

Under Criminal Laws

If you are convicted of the Missouri DWI offense or Excessive BAC offense, you will also lose your Missouri drivers license (or your right to drive in Missouri if you don’t have a valid Missouri license) for 30 days followed by 60 days of restricted driving privileges.  If this is your second conviction, you face a license revocation ranging from one to five years.  Talk to your Missouri DWI attorney for possible revocation lengths for your situation.

Perhaps.  Negotiating a client’s case with the prosecutor is something that your Missouri lawyer can advise you about.  Sometimes a plea to a lesser type offense is possible.  Sometimes a suspended imposition of sentence is possible.  This SIS can result in the dismissal of the DWI charge upon successful completion of the program requirements.  In some cases, your only option will be to plead to the DWI / Excessive BAC offense or take your case to trial.

Yes.  These convictions will go on your Missouri driving record.  You may be able to expunge a Missouri DWI / Excessive BAC conviction after 10 years.

We handle exclusively personal injury cases, which involve car crashes, whether they be distracted driving or victims of drunk driving, or just negligent trucking drivers and trucking companies.

We also handle premises liability cases, which typically people think of as “slip and falls” or “fall down” cases. These usually happen on someone’s property due to poor maintenance of the property or failure to warn people of the potential dangers on the property.

Another area we handle is dog bite or dog attack cases where the dog has either bitten or injured someone by causing significant scarring or where a dog has aggressively come after a person and knocked them to the ground, causing significant injury.

We don’t handle other types of cases because at our firm we want to be exclusively dedicated to knowing every single nuance there is about injury law. If there is a new case that comes out that affects an injured party, we want to be the ones to know it. We want to be the ones that are exclusively handling injury cases. We want to be the ones that are using the new techniques to improve the settlements or recoveries for injury clients. If we are dabbling in other cases in other areas like some firms do and some practitioners do, we aren’t dedicating ourselves fully to our injury clients. We have made a commitment to be an injury law firm. We provide complete injury law care, meaning we are going to know injury law inside and out so that our clients benefit from our exclusive and niche representation.

Predominantly we handle cases in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Jefferson County, St. Charles County, Boone County, Montgomery County, Audrain County, Miller County, and Callaway County. However, we handle cases throughout the states of Missouri and Illinois.

Schedule a call with one of our attorneys so you can get the answers you need by calling us at (314) 270-2273.