Many Texas drivers who are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) do not realize that a DWI charge creates not one but two separate cases, one civil and one criminal.
Specifically, a DWI arrest results in both a criminal charge, and typically initiates a civil proceeding against the arrested driver’s driving privileges called an Administrative License Revocation, or ALR.
An ALR suspension is initiated against an arrested driver when he either refuses to undergo breath or blood testing, or alternatively, fails a breath or blood test. The legal authority to impose an ALR suspension against a driver lies in the Texas implied consent statute.
This law states that each person who operates a motor vehicle on Texas roadways has given their implied consent to provide a specimen of breath or blood if arrested for DWI and supplied with the applicable repercussions of refusing to submit to testing.
Notice of ALR Suspension
Many police officers, after arresting a citizen, will tell the arrested driver that if he does not agree to take a breath or blood test that his license shall be automatically and immediately suspended.
This is false. When making an arrest for DWI, peace officers are required to take possession of any Texas license issued by this state and held by the person arrested and issue that person a temporary driving permit that expires on the 41st day after the date of issuance. Further, a request for a hearing to challenge the proposed suspension will delay any ALR sanctions until a hearing takes place.
Hearing Request Provisions
ALR suspensions are automatic unless you obtain a hearing to challenge the suspension, in writing, WITHIN FIFTEEN (15) DAYS after receiving notice of suspension from the arresting agency on a Department of Public Safety approved form. This document is generally received on the day of criminal arrest.
If a hearing isn’t requested in a timely manner, the suspension will automatically begin on the forty-first (41st) day after notice was received. If a hearing is requested, no action will be taken regarding suspension until after the hearing has taken place, even if the hearing takes place more than forty days after the arrest.
The ALR Hearing
The burden of proof at an ALR hearing is on the Department of Public Safety. Once a driver or his attorney has created a timely request for an ALR hearing, no suspension can be imposed against the driver until the Department of Public Safety proves the following elements by a preponderance of the evidence at the hearing:
- That there was reasonable suspicion to stop or probable cause to arrest the driver;
- That probable cause existed that the driver was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated;
- That the driver was placed under arrest and was offered an opportunity to give a specimen of breath or blood after being notified both orally and in writing of the consequences of either refusing or failing a breath or blood test; and
- That the driver refused to give a specimen on request of the officer, or, that the driver failed a breath or blood test by registering an alcohol concentration of .08 or greater.
Suspension Provisions for Adult Drivers
Without any prior alcohol or drug related contacts against the accused driver during the previous 10-year period, your license will likely be suspended for 90 days if your chemical test result is over a 0.08% or 180 days if you refuse a chemical test. If you have a prior alcohol or drug contact within 10 years, your license will be suspended for one year if your chemical test is over 0.08% or 2 years if you refuse a chemical test. In certain circumstances you may be eligible for an Occupational License.
Houston DWI Defense: The Charles Johnson Law Firm
If you have been arrested for DWI, it is important to contact a DWI defense attorney immediately. Having an experienced attorney on your side will greatly increase your chances of saving your driving privileges at the ALR hearing. The Charles Johnson Law Firm has represented hundreds of individuals, and have been successful in saving their driving privileges. Should you retain our services, we personally conduct an investigation into your case, help you schedule your hearing with the DPS, find witnesses and evidence to use in your favor, and represent you at the hearing. Furthermore, Attorney Johnson provides all of his clients with the personalized attention and compassionate legal attention they deserve.