I handle a lot of driving while suspended (“DWS”) tickets. Sometimes it seems like they are as common as speeding tickets, but the impact on my clients is much more serious. A driver can have his license suspended for a variety of reasons, but I think the most common is for “failure to appear” (ignoring a ticket).
The second most common situation that creates license suspensions is an accumulation of points or moving violations. If you are a chronic speeder, 2 points per ticket adds up quickly and remember just paying a no insurance ticket can result in 4 points on your Missouri driving record.
No matter the basis for the suspension, the most difficult part of these cases is that people drive around unaware that their license is suspended because they have not updated their address with the Department of Revenue. Usually my clients don’t find out they are suspended until they are pulled over and an officer tells them they are suspended.
Taking care of these tickets is usually pretty routine and can be made easier by getting reinstated before you head to court. Reinstatement usually means addressing the underlying issue creating the suspension – like paying the ticket you ignored. You will usually have to pay a fee to the State and may be required to submit and SR22. If you have accumulated too many tickets in a period of time, it may be necessary to hire a lawyer to go back and deal with those tickets also.
The main issue though is that once you get that first DWS ticket and you continue to drive, knowing your are suspended, you are likely to accumulate more and more of the same tickets. Trust me, the police have a 6th sense for finding drivers how are not properly licensed. You might think running a quick errand is low risk, but eventually you are going to get caught and that DWS ticket is very hefty. These tickets are 12 points in Missouri and if you plead guilty, you will automatically be suspended for another year.
You see what I mean about a vicious cycle? Once you are suspended and you continue to get tickets for DWS you can make it impossible to ever get reinstated. The more of these tickets you accumulate, the higher penalties you face, including jail time, high fines, years of probation, and community service.
You can avoid this cycle by not driving unless you are properly licensed and always keeping your address with the Department of Revenue updated. Lastly call a lawyer who can help you figure out why you are suspended and what you need to do to get reinstated. By a calling a lawyer, you can avoid the hefty toll pleading guilty to a DWS ticket will have on your driving record.