Abuse & Lose

In St. Charles, underage drivers found guilty of certain alcohol- or drug-related offenses are subject to the Abuse and Lose suspension. §302.400 RSMo. The Abuse and Lose statute provides for suspension periods ranging from 30 days to one year. A number of offenses give rise to the Abuse and Lose suspension, which is applied cumulatively to any other suspension the driver might receive (i.e. an Administrative Alcohol Suspension or a Chemical Refusal Revocation).

This week, we’ll examine when the Abuse and Lose suspension applies and how it can affect drivers.

A court of competent jurisdiction shall, upon a finding of guilt, or if the court is a juvenile court, upon a finding of fact that the offense was committed by a juvenile, enter an order suspending or revoking the driving privileges of any person determined to have committed one of the following offenses and who, at the time said offense was committed, was under 21 years of age…

Each of the five subparts of §302.400.1 sets forth specific criteria for when the Abuse and Lose suspension will apply, which includes the driver being found guilty of: an alcohol-related traffic offense; an offense committed while driving, when such offense involved the possession or use of alcohol; an offense involving the use of a controlled substance (see Chapter 195); or an offense involving the alteration, modification, or misrepresentation of a license to operate a motor vehicle (see §311.328 RSMo.). Some of these subparts are further qualified in that the driver must have been represented by an attorney or waived his or her right to an attorney in writing.

§302.400.2 RSMo. also requires the Abuse and Lose suspension be applied against a driver if he or she is found guilty of being a minor in possession of alcohol or a minor who purchases alcohol. §311.325 RSmo. It surprises many drivers to learn that they can be subject to this suspension for violating §311.325, which doesn’t require the driver to have been operating a motor vehicle at all.

If a Court orders a driver to be subject to the Abuse and Lose suspension, the driver must surrender his or her license, permit, or any other driving privilege. The Court must also forward to the director of revenue the order of suspension and any license surrendered by the driver. §302.400.3-4 RSMo.

The term of the Abuse and Lose suspension varies depending on the driver’s particular circumstances. §302.400.6 RSMo. provides that a first-time Abuse and Lose term under subsection one will last for 90 days; a subsequent suspension under subsection one will last for a full year. A first-time suspension under subsection two is 30 days, while a second offense under subsection two is 90 days; the suspension for a third or subsequent offense under subsection two is a full year.

The Ryan Law Firm

415 N. Second St.
St. Charles, Missouri 63301

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