If you have been arrested for driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol content over the legal limit in the state of Missouri you will need to be familiar with the necessary steps to reinstate your driving privilege. First you must be aware that there are two separate sections of Missouri law which deal with a suspension/revocation of your driving privilege. The first is the criminal alcohol law which addresses the ticket that was issued. If you have been convicted of an alcohol driving offense the court will send a copy of your conviction to the Missouri Department of Revenue. The Department of Revenue (DOR) will assess points and your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked based on the amount of points accrued.
The second section of Missouri law pertains to the administrative alcohol law which will result in a suspension or revocation of your driving privilege if your blood alcohol content level is over the legal limit. This will result in an automatic suspension/revocation of your privilege to drive unless you have appeared the decision through an Administrative Hearing or Trial DeNovo Process.
What many people fail to understand is that the court systems may reduce your DWI to a lesser charge or even throw out the charge entirely but you still have to address the DWI through the SATOP process in order to maintain or re-instate your privilege to drive per the DOR standards. So what is SATOP?
SATOP stands for Substance Abuse Traffic Offenders Program. SATOP is required by law to reinstate your driver’s license. Throughout the state of Missouri there are agencies certified by the Missouri Department of Mental Health and the Missouri Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse to provide SATOP services. The link to find the designated agencies is http://dmh.mo.gov/docs/ada/satop/OMUDirectoryListOnline.pdf. The agencies are referred to as Offender Management Units (OMU).
Once you have found and OMU in your area you must call to schedule a SATOP assessment. The agency cannot tell you what level of SATOP you will be referred to at the time the appointment is scheduled. At the assessment appointment you will take a test answering questions about how your drive, and your use of drugs and alcohol. You will meet with a Qualified Substance Abuse Professional (QSAP) for an interview to discuss the offense which brought you to the SATOP program. Based upon the assessment results you will then be referred to a level of SATOP.
You will be required to pay an assessment fee at the time of the evaluation. The fee is broken down into an assessment screening fee which goes to the OMU and then the supplemental fee which is sent to the Missouri Department of Mental Health by the agency you screen with. This link will take you to the fee schedule for SATOP as of July 1, 2010 http://dmh.mo.gov/ada/satop/profees.htm
Level 1 SATOP program is referred to as OEP which stands for Offender Education Program. It is a 10 hour education course which takes place over a 2 day period. Level 2 is referred to as WIP which stands for Weekend Intervention Program. This is a 20 hour education course which takes place over an entire weekend Friday through Sunday. This course requires you to stay overnight at a hotel for the duration of the course. Level 3, CIP stands for Clinical Intervention Program. This consists of 50 hours of outpatient treatment. Level 4 is residential substance abuse treatment.
The fees for Levels 2 and up require participants to fill out a form called a Standard Means Form in which the participant must verify their income for the purpose of determining if they qualify for assistance to pay for their treatment.
Once you have completed your level of SATOP education or treatment the agency you did the program with must contact the original screening agency, OMU to let them know you have finished your program. At that time the OMU who screened you initially will go into the Department of Mental Health database and enter in your completion. The Missouri Department of Revenue will receive this completion electronically through the database. You will be provided a completion certificate for your record.
With your proof of SATOP completion, payment of a re instatement fee and proof of SR-22 insurance your privilege to drive will be reinstated at the date you are eligible. The Missouri Department of Revenue has an automated system you may contact to find out what exactly you need to do to be reinstated. The system will tell you what date you are eligible for re in-statement, how much your reinstatement fee costs and for how long you must carry SR-22 insurance.
It’s essential to be familiar with this process and be educated on Missouri Law related to DWI. Two excellent resources for better understanding this process which were used for this article are the Missouri Department of Mental Health at http://dmh.mo.gov/, and the Missouri Department of Revenue at http://dor.mo.gov/.