Many Texans are surprised to discover they must deal with two cases—not just one—after an arrest for DWI (driving while intoxicated). DWI is a crime and adjudicated in county court; a conviction for DWI can result in jail time, probation, and/or monetary penalties.
While you wait for the disposition of your criminal case, your license may be suspended through an administrative procedure. This is called the “Administrative License Revocation” program, or ALR program. This process is separate from your criminal case and goes through the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).
What Triggers an Administrative License Revocation?
Refusing to take a blood or breath test after getting pulled over for suspicion of DWI will result in a driver’s license suspension. On the other hand, taking and failing a blood or breath test (BAC .08 or above for drivers 21 and older, .04 for drivers of commercial vehicles) will also result in an ALR.
When Does Your License Get Suspended?
Your administrative license suspension will go into effect 40 days after you were “served notice” of the suspension. This usually means your license will be suspended 40 days after your arrest. While that is an important date, a far more important timeline to keep in mind is 15 days. That’s how long you have, from either your arrest or receipt of the license suspension notice, to request a hearing before the SOAH. A successful outcome of an ALR hearing is the reinstatement of your license while you wait to resolve your case.
What Happens at the Hearing?
At the ALR hearing, you will appear before an administrative judge. Again, this is not the venue to argue that you did not commit the crime of DWI. The state must show that reasonable suspicion existed for the initial stop, probable cause existed for your arrest, and necessary procedures were followed. There are many strategies and tactics your attorney may use to bolster your case; the best ones to use for your case depend on the facts of your stop and subsequent arrest.
If the arresting officer does not show up to the hearing after being subpoenaed, you will probably win by default. If, however, you are not successful, your license will be suspended immediately after the hearing.
How Long Will Your License Be Suspended?
If you have never been arrested for DWI, your first ALR will last for 90 days if you failed a blood or breath test. Refusing to take a blood or breath test will earn you an ALR of 180 days. The ALR will be much longer if you have a prior license suspension, DWI arrest, or conviction.
Call a Lawyer as Soon as Possible
You’re probably feeling a combination of fear and stress if you’ve recently been arrested for DWI. The best thing to do is act. You have an extremely short window to contest your ALR, which, if successful, will allow you to legally drive to and from work, school, and other important places. This can make a big difference while you and your attorney prepare for trial.
Attorney Tycha Kimbrough and the rest of the team at Kimbrough Legal, PLLC has helped countless Texans with DWI matters, including the Administrative License Revocation procedure. Call us to get started on a premium defense today.
Kimbrough Legal, PLLC
4425 S MoPac Expy Ste. 105
Austin, TX 78735
Kimbrough Legal, PLLC
1777 NE Loop 410 Ste. 600
San Antonio, TX 78217