Administrative License Revocation Hearings: Protecting Your Legal Rights
During an arrest for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in the state of Texas, most drivers are asked to submit to a breath or blood alcohol test by the arresting officer. While Texas does have an implied consent law, drivers cannot legally be forced to submit to a breath test and can only be forcibly subjected to a blood test once a judge signs a search warrant. If a driver arrested for DWI refuses to provide a voluntary breath or blood sample, the Texas Department of Public Safety will seek to suspend that driver’s driving privileges for twice as long as someone who chose to provide a sample upon request.
After any DWI arrest whether a breath or blood specimen was provided or not, the Texas Department of Public Safety will seek to impose a mandatory driver’s license suspension on that driver. If the driver provided a sample the typical suspension period is 90 days. If a driver refuses to voluntarily submit to breath or blood sample then the typical suspension period is 180 days.
The mandatory suspensions are imposed through what is called an Administrative License Revocation (ALR). This civil process is not linked to the results of any criminal court proceedings that determine innocence or guilt. Instead, ALR occurs automatically after an arrest for DWI. In most instances, Houston drivers can help avoid the loss of their driving privileges by requesting a hearing within 15 days of the date of their DWI arrest.
Requests for hearings on ALR proceedings must be submitted promptly and in accordance with specific legal requirements. If you have been arrested for a DWI, obtaining the services of a knowledgeable Houston DWI attorney is essential to protect both your driving privileges in Texas and your permanent legal record. A qualified and experienced Houston DWI lawyer can ensure that the request for an ALR hearing is submitted properly and received in a timely manner to ensure that the rights of the accused are fully protected.
In Texas, ALR hearings are conducted by the State Office of Administrative Hearings and are prosecuted by the Department of Public Safety. These hearings are designed to allow drivers accused of DWI to present their side of the story to an Administrative Law Judge. Experienced legal representation can be critical in protecting the right to drive in the state of Texas. Many pertinent legal issues that can be raised at this hearing and can include the following:
The probable cause claimed by the stopping officer for the stop, and the probable cause claimed by the arresting office for the arrest
The circumstances of the testing request or the refusal to undergo testing
The accuracy of any field sobriety tests performed on the scene and what, if any, signs of intoxication the driver was exhibiting
The Department of Public Safety’s case will be presented by an attorney employed by the agency. Failing to obtain competent legal representation for the ALR hearing can result in the suspension of the driving privileges of the accused party for typically a minimum of 90 days. For holders of a Texas Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), the period of suspension will be at least one year; drivers who are transporting hazardous materials will lose their CDL for three years. Upon a suspension a reinstatement fee will also be assessed on the driver at the end of the suspension period for the reinstatement of driving privileges.
If you have been charged with DWI, Matthew Gallagher can provide real help in managing all aspects of your defense in ALR hearings, in pretrial negotiations, and at trial. Matthew Gallagher has the experience and knowledge to effectively and zealously fight to protect your driving privileges.