Our DWI Lawyer in Houston Addresses Your ALR

What Is An Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearing?

It is something that occurs every day in Houston, Texas. You are pulled over by a police officer on suspicion of a DWI. In order to confirm this suspicion, the police officer requests that you take a blood or breath test. You refuse and then are told that your driver’s license is going to be suspended. So what you should you do now? Should you call a DWI lawyer in Houston Texas?

Your Rights Under The Law In Texas And Implied Consent

There is an “implied consent” law in Texas with respect to breath and blood tests. What that means is that when you apply for and obtain a driver’s license in the state of Texas, you are presumed to have consented to any sobriety tests that are subsequently requested by a law enforcement officer. In practice, the police are forbidden by the Constitution to conduct a search without a warrant or your consent, so you still can decline a breath or blood test.

However, if you refuse to take the test – or if you agree to and then fail it – the state of Texas can suspend your driver’s license automatically for a period that ranges from 90 days up to 2 years. The suspension works independently of any criminal DWI charges that you might be faced with. Even if the prosecutors make the decision to prosecute you – or if you are charged and then acquitted – you will still need to deal with a possible license suspension separately.

Your Suspension Will Be Deadly If You Ask For A Hearing

After you either fail or refuse a sobriety test, usually the arresting officer will serve you with a license suspension notice. At that point, the suspension hasn’t gone into effect yet. However, your license will be taken by the officer, and a temporary driving permit will be issued to you.

You will have 15 days starting with the date of your suspension notice to ask the Texas Department of Public Safety for an administrative hearing. If you fail to do this within the 15-day timeframe, your suspension is finalized on the 40th day after your notice was served, which is 40 days after your DWI arrest. However, if you request a hearing within the time frame, your suspension doesn’t start until after a hearing has been conducted by the DPS and a ruling has been issued by an administrative law judge (ALJ).

That frequently takes longer than you may think. The DPS by law can take as long as 120 days to get a hearing scheduled. That means you might be able to continue to drive for four months (or longer) while your appeal is being considered by the ALJ. Even if you are ruled against by the ALJ, you can appeal the decision, and the suspension won’t go into effect during that time.

At your hearing, you will have the right to call the officer who arrested you and question him. It isn’t a criminal trial, so there isn’t a prosecutor to cross-examine or prepare the police officer. You also have the right to challenge any evidence that has been used against you.

Just remember that in order to suspend your driver’s license, Texas doesn’t need to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That is only true in criminal DWI cases. The ALJ just needs to find that there was probable cause for the officer to arrest you and that you either failed or refused a sobriety test.

Contact Butler Law Firm today to help with your ALR hearing request. Visit our blog for more related articles.