St. Charles DWI attorney Todd Ryan answers the question “Where is my DWI?”. Todd Ryan handles DWI cases in the circuit court as well as the individual municipal courts throughout St. Charles County. As we’ve seen in previous posts, St. Charles DWI charges generally result in a both an administrative case and a criminal case. The criminal case can, depending on a number of factors, be filed in one of many courts. St. Charles DWI attorney Todd Ryan discusses how and where criminal DWI charges get filed.
Where Is My DWI?
Usually, the easiest way to figure out where your case is pending is to check the ticket or summons that the arresting officer gave you. Your summons will have a court address on it along with a date and time for you to appear. In some cases, the date and time will be labeled TBD or TBN, which is “to be determined” and “to be notified”, respectively. It is very important that you contact a St. Charles County DWI attorney soon after your arrest, especially if you’re having trouble figuring out in which court your case is pending.
The arresting agency is usually a factor in determining where your case will be filed. If you are arrested by the St. Peters Police Department, your case will end up in either the St. Charles County Circuit Court or the St. Peters Municipal Court. A number of additional factors will be important: Do you have previous DWI convictions? Was there an accident with injuries? DWI cases that are charged as felonies will always be filed in the Circuit Court and under state statutes. If it’s your first (or sometimes second) DWI, your case can be charged under the local ordinance of the arresting agency’s jurisdiction.
Jurisdiction is an important concept for drivers to understand. St. Charles County has more than a dozen agencies capable of investigating and prosecuting DWI charges, and each agency has its own jurisdiction. For municipal agencies (St. Charles City, St. Peters, O’Fallon, Wentzville, Cottleville, etc.), the enforcement agency is the police department, and that department’s jurisdiction is limited to the municipal city limits (there are caveats to this, but it’s your attorney’s job to understand advanced jurisdictional issues). In unincorporated county areas, the enforcement agency is a county-level police department. In county parks and recreation areas, park rangers have jurisdiction and are tasked with enforcing county code and state statute.
State-level enforcement agencies include the State Troopers or State Highway Patrol. St. Charles County is patrolled by Troop C of the Missouri Highway Patrol. Troopers from the Highway Patrol will almost always write their citations under Missouri statute, which will lead to the case being filed in the Circuit Court as opposed to a municipal court.