Challenging your SATOP evaluation in a Missouri DWI case

Unless you beat the criminal portion of your DWI AND manage to also challenge your license suspension in the civil part of your case, you will have to complete a SATOP (substance abuse traffic offenders program) to get your license back or as a term of probation. Most people are not aware that if you are given a SATOP evaluation for a very high level, you may challenge it and ask a judge in the circuit court where the DWI took place to lower you down to a more reasonable class. In many cases with a high BAC or old DWI’s in your past, we recommend you do this.



SATOP Screening

When you sign up for SATOP, you pay a fee for an evaluation where you answer questions about the DWI and your lifestyle and habits, and then the SATOP provider places you in a class of various levels: Level I-IV. In the past, the level of your SATOP class tended to be the same as the number of offenses you have had in your life unless there was extenuating circumstances: i.e.- first offense usually got level I, second offense often got level II, etc.

You must pay fees when you screen in addition to fees for whichever level of class you are assigned after your assessment. The fee for screening is $375.00 at the time of this posting, which is separate from the fees for whichever class is given.

The Missouri legislature has now bumped up the SATOP requirements to where there are many types of conduct during your DWI arrest that might enhance you to a worse class than you might expect. If you have a breath test or other chemical test in evidence that has a very high result, some refusals, accidents, etc. you might now be enhanced way up from what is typically given. You can also get hit with a very high SATOP evaluation if you have already taken SATOP in past cases.

The SATOP levels are generally:

Level I OEP- Offender Education Program—This is the 10-hr course most first offenders will receive if they have not previously completed another SATOP program in the past.

Level II WIP- Weekend Intervention Program—This is a 20-hour course often given to second time offenders over a full weekend of classes. Some first offenders are also being given Level 2 WIP SATOP for refusal of a chemical test in some counties, and for other reasons.

Level III- CIP Clinical Intervention Program—This is a 50-hour outpatient course often given to third time offenders or anyone that has already complete level II WIP.

Level IV—Full Treatment—If you have multiple alcohol or drug cases or issues, or are deemed a high risk to reoffend, you can be placed here. This can either be residential or outpatient treatment, but is substantial financially and time wise.

To challenge a Missouri SATOP evaluation, you are asking the judge to overrule the SATOP provider and lower you down to a class that is more reasonable financially and one that can be completed in a more timely manner to complete your case. Our office has handled many of these matters successfully, and it is highly recommended you do so if you are placed unreasonably high in your evaluation. We offer free consultations. Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss the specifics of your matter.