The Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program was established in Texas in and attempt to conduct suspension hearings as efficiently as possible.
When a person is stopped for suspicion of DWI in Texas, the standard procedure is for the police officer to request that a series of field sobriety tests be completed (Note that although an officer’s use of words may suggest that the tests are mandatory, they are not. A person has the option to refuse any roadside test that he does not wish to do). If a person chooses to perform these tests and fails, he or she is taken to a police station and asked to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test (If a person chooses not to perform these test, he or she may still be charged with DWI if the officer has reason to believe that the person is intoxicated).
If the person refuses to submit to a test, his or her license is taken away immediately. If the person agrees to provide a breath or blood sample, the person’s license will be suspended for only 90 days. If the person refuses the test, he or she will be subject to a suspension of generally 180 days. For a repeated violation, the license suspension can last up to 2 years.
If your license is suspended, you may still be allowed to drive by obtaining an Occupational Driver’s License (ODL), which will allow you to drive to work, and perform essential household necessities. Ross Law Offices can help you in obtaining this, as well.
Administrative License Revocation Hearings – FAQ’s
How long do you have to request a hearing?
Once you are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) or other intoxication offense the law enforcement officer is required to give you written notice that your license will be suspended. Generally this is done at the scene of the arrest or once you are placed in the officer’s vehicle. The officer will often read aloud the notice. Once the officer gives you the written notice, the clock starts ticking. You have 15 days from the time notice is given to request your administrative license revocation hearing (ALR hearing). Your request must be in writing and sent to the Department of Public Safety in Austin, Texas.
Occasionally, the officer will not give you the notice at the time of arrest. If that happens, DPS will mail the notice to you. Again, you will have 15 days from the time you receive notice to request a hearing. If you did not receive notice either in person or by mail you should immediately contact DPS and a Denton County DWI defense attorney to preserve your right to fight your driving privileges.
What if I do not request a hearing?
If you do not request a hearing within 15 days, you waive your right to a hearing. DPS will then suspend your Texas driver’s license 40 days after you were given written notice of the suspension.
What must the State prove at the ALR hearing?
In a Breath/Blood Alcohol Test Refusal Case, the State must prove by a preponderance of evidence that:
- The law enforcement officer had reasonable suspicion to stop you or probable cause to arrest you;
- The law enforcement officer had probable cause that you operated a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated;
- You were placed under arrest and the law enforcement officer offered you an opportunity to provide a specimen of breath or blood under the provisions of Tex. Trans. Code Ann. Ch. 724; and
- You refused to provide a specimen on request of the officer.
In a Breath/Blood Alcohol Test Failure Case the State must prove by a preponderance of evidence that:
- You had an alcohol concentration of a level specified in Section 49.01 Texas Penal Code, while operating a motor vehicle in a public place; and
- The law enforcement officer had reasonable suspicion to stop you or had probable cause to arrest or take you into custody.
Can I win the ALR hearing?
ALR hearings can be won if handled by an experienced DWI lawyer. Attorney John A. Ross, Jr. has successfully defended many clients at ALR hearings and prevented their licenses from being suspended. The State of Texas has numerous attorneys on staff whose sole duty is to conduct ALR hearings.
Attorney Ross has conducted hundreds of ALR hearings with outstanding success. He will carefully review the facts of your case, the offense report, and the video tape evidence. He will then use that evidence to fight to keep your license. In many cases, he has had the case thrown out by the judge because the law enforcement officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle or did not establish probable cause of the driver’s intoxication. If you have been charged with a DWI in Denton County or a surrounding area, do not hesitate to contact Attorney Ross as soon as possible.
Aside from protecting your license, the ALR hearing is also important because it is recorded. The cross examination of the law enforcement officer can be very beneficial in a DWI trial. The officer is locked in to his testimony and the ALR record can be used to impeach him during the criminal trial if his recollection of events differs from that of his previous testimony.
Can I appeal the ALR decision/suspension?
If you lose the ALR hearing, you have the right to appeal the decision. You must do so within 30 days of the court’s decision becoming final otherwise your appeal will be waived.
What about my license if you lose the ALR hearing?
If you lose the ALR hearing, you can file for an Occupational Driver’s License. This license will give you the ability to drive during the suspension period, conditioned on certain requirements set forth by the Court.
What are the suspension lengths for adult offenders?
If you refused to provide a breath or blood specimen following an arrest for an offense prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle or watercraft while intoxicated, while under the influence of alcohol, or under the influence of a controlled substance the suspensions are as follows:
- 180 day suspension – First offense
- 2 year suspension – If previously suspended for failing or refusing a specimen test or previously suspended for a DWI, Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter conviction during the 10 years preceding the date of arrest.
If you provided a specimen with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater, following an arrest for an offense under section 49.04, 49.07, or 49.08 Penal Code, involving the operation of a motor vehicle, the suspensions are as follows:
- 90 day suspension – First offense
- 1 year suspension – If previously suspended for failing or refusing a specimen test or previously suspended for a DWI, Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter conviction during the 10 years preceding the date of arrest.
Are there fees associated with losing my driver’s license at the ALR hearing?
Losing an ALR hearing is expensive and frustrating. First, your license is suspended for up to 2 years. Second, if you drive during the period of suspension you will risk being pulled over by police and arrested for DWLS (driving while license suspended) which is a class B misdemeanor offense, carrying a punishment of up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000.00 fine. If convicted of DWLS your license will be suspended even longer. Third, to drive legally you will need to obtain an occupational license. Occupational licenses are expensive and limited. An occupational license will involve filing fees, reinstatement fees, SR22 insurance expenses, a possible Ignition Interlock requirement, alcohol counseling, and various other requirements which may be ordered by the Court. Fourth, an occupational license by law can only give you up to 12 hours a day to drive within designated counties. If you drive outside the hours or counties you can be arrested for DWLS. Fifth, you can only drive for legally permissible reasons, including occupational requirements and essential household needs. It is in your best interest to hire an attorney who is experienced in ALR hearings to fight a loss of your license.
Contact a Skilled Denton DWI Attorney
If you have been charged with DWI, and you have not scheduled your ALR hearing, you should move quickly to involve an experienced lawyer. A legal professional can review your case, inform you of your legal options, and represent you at your hearing in order to protect your license and prepare for your criminal case. Contact us today for a free consultation.