DUI and Driver’s License Suspension
Having your driving privileges suspended even before you are convicted seems to violate the presumption of innocence and is extremely unfair. We cannot justify why the government punishes people prematurely, but the questions and answers contained in this section are commonly asked.
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Driver’s License Suspension
- If I refuse or fail a chemical test, what can be done to prevent my license from being suspended?
- Is it important to request an ALR hearing?
- If I submit to a chemical test and my alcohol concentration is below a .08, can I still lose my license?
- If my license is suspended, what are the penalties for driving while the license is suspended?
- If my license is suspended, how do I get to work or take my kids to school?
If I refuse or fail a chemical test, what can be done to prevent my license from being suspended?
The law now permits an officer to immediately seize your driver’s license after being arrested for DWI and either refusing or failing a chemical test (including a breath or blood test. The officer will give you a temporary driving permit that is contained in the form they read you informing you of the potential penalties of a chemical test failure or refusal. This temporary permit is valid for 40 days. You also have the right to request an Administrative License Revocation hearing (ALR hearing). If you refuse or fail a test, the officer is required to give you written notice that your driving privileges will be suspended. You then have 15 days to request the ALR hearing. If you fail to properly and timely request a hearing, your privilege to drive will be suspended on the 41st day after you received notice.
If the officer fails to give you notice of your license suspension, DPS will mail you notice that your driver’s license is subject to suspension. This occurs when a Blood Sample is given. The state must wait for the results of the test. You now have 15 days from the day you receive notice to request the ALR hearing. Notice is deemed to be received 5 days after it is mailed. Therefore, do not rely on receiving notice from DPS before you request a hearing, or you may unintentionally waive that right. Notice by mail will be sent to the address on your driver’s license, even if it is incorrect. The law requires that all drivers report address changes on their license within 30 days of moving. Therefore, you need to be sure you correct address is on your license.
When a proper and timely request for an ALR hearing is made, the suspension of your driving privilege will not occur until the ALR hearing is held and the Judge suspends the license. If you win the ALR, your driving privilege will not be suspended and DPS has to return your actual license. If you have your DWI trial before the ALR and you are found Not Guilty, your driving privileges will not be suspended. If you lose the ALR and your driving privileges are suspended and are subsequently found Not Guilty in your DWI trial, you can have your driving privilege immediately reinstated. The suspension can be removed from your driving record, no matter how long the suspension is for. It is the license holder’s responsibility to advise DPS of the Not Guilty verdict.
Is it important to request an ALR hearing?
Requesting an ALR meeting is extremely important! First of all, it gives you the chance to delay or prevent your driving privileges from being suspended. Second, by requesting the hearing, you force the State of Texas to prove that the officer who arrested you either had a reasonable suspicion or probable cause to do so. If the State fails to prove that the officer either had a reasonable suspicion or probable cause to arrest you, that ruling could assist you in the DWI trial and possibly get the DWI dismissed or a reduction in the charge. Third, this is a time for you to get discovery about your DWI case. By subpoenaing the officer to Court, you will get sworn testimony of the officer, often times telling the experienced DWI lawyer what the true defense to your DWI will be at trial. The ALR hearing, if conducted in the way I handle them, has assisted many of my clients in being found Not Guilty.
If I submit to a chemical test and my alcohol concentration is below a .08, can I still lose my license?
Yes, but only after trial. You would have to be convicted, and as a result of being convicted, the Judge or DPS would have to suspend your license. It would not automatically be suspended as a result of the chemical test.
If my license is suspended, what are the penalties for driving while the license is suspended?
This offense is known as "Driving While License Suspended" (DWLS) and is a Class "B" Misdemeanor with a range of punishment from 3-180 days in jail and/or $100-$500 fine for each violation. The penalties are increased if it is enhanced to Class "A" Misdemeanor.
If my license is suspended, how do I get to work or take my kids to school?
You may apply for an Occupational Drivers License (ODL). To obtain an Occupational, good cause must be shown. Driving to work, taking the kids to school, driving to the grocery store, and driving to a medical facility are all examples of good cause. This license permits you to drive during a 12 hour period of time each day, and is subject to restrictions.
However, if you have had an alcohol related contact in the previous 10 years, you will not be eligible for an Occupational Drivers License for the first 180 days of the subsequent suspension. You will also be required to install an ignition interlock device on your car.
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If being convicted of a DUI/DWI is not an option, contact The Wilder Firm for a FREE CASE CONSULTATION by calling 469-227-0772 or by filling out the form below: