In Missouri, a driving with a suspended license citation is worse than a first-time DWI offense in many ways.
RSMo 302.321(1) defines driving with a suspended revoked license as follows:
A person commits the crime of driving while revoked if such person operates a motor vehicle on a highway when such person’s license or driving privilege has been canceled, suspended, or revoked under the laws of this state or any other state and acts with criminal negligence with respect to knowledge of the fact that such person’s driving privilege has been canceled, suspended, or revoked.
It’s a straightforward definition that is often a black and white answer. Criminally, any person convicted is guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor (which is by law punishable by imprisonment up to one year and a fine of $1,000.00). Do also note that subsequent driving while suspended convictions within a certain time period will result in a Class D Felony (punishable by a fine of up to $5,000.00 and up to four years imprisonment). In such circumstances, a Court is not permitted to grant a Suspended Imposition of Sentence (“SIS”). Minimum amounts of jail time and community service are also required by statute.
In addition to these criminal consequences, the Missouri Department of Revenue comes down very hard on driving privileges. A driving with a suspended license results in 12 points being imposed on your license — compared to 8 being imposed from a first-time DWI. The result of this is costly from an insurance perspective. Moreover, the process by which to reinstate a license is lengthy, particularly given the likelihood that there are likely pre-existing “holds” on the license from an offense that suspended the license in the first place.
To combat against the criminal and administrative aspects of a driving with a suspended/revoked license, it is important to act immediately to better evaluate your options.