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What Is Administrative License Revocation in Texas?

Criminal Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

What Is Administrative License Revocation in Texas?

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Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or boating while intoxicated (BWI) often leads to arrest in Texas. If you’ve had the unfortunate experience of getting pulled over by a police officer on a suspected DWI charge, you probably don’t know what to expect.

Unfortunately, you can be punished for a DWI even before the prosecutor brings charges against you—or before the court finds you guilty of the charge.

If you’re arrested for a suspected DWI and don’t submit to a field breath or blood test, the officer may seize your driver’s license and give immediate notification of an administrative license revocation (ALR). The ALR program may lead to permanent loss of Texas driving privileges before you go to court to defend a DWI charge.

Contact an experienced DUI/DWI defense attorney as soon as possible to defend against the ALR to preserve part or all your driving privileges.

Do you have an upcoming administrative license revocation hearing?
Contact Houston DWI attorney Greg Tsioros today for a free consultation 

Administrative License Revocation in Texas

The ALR program is Texas is complex. The basics include:

  • Driver’s license suspension if the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher. If you do agree to a field breath test and your BAC is greater than the legal limit of 0.08 percent (Texas Penal Code §49.01), you’ll lose driving privileges for 90 days to two years. If the BAC is at or above Texas’s legal limit when you’re arrested, the court will assume you’re guilty. Your civil punishments begin right away.
  • Field sobriety test refusal. If you don’t agree to the officer’s demand to field sobriety tests – breath, urine, or blood 00 after your DWI arrest, your driver’s license is suspended for 90 days to two years. As a licensed driver in Texas, you’ve implied consent for sobriety field testing if a law enforcement officer reasonably suspects you’re driving while intoxicated. (Texas Transportation Code Chapter 724) You have the right to refuse to field sobriety tests but, in that case, it’s important to contact an experienced DWI attorney as soon as possible to avoid civil or criminal consequences.
  • Suspension of driver’s license. In a suspected BWI case, the operator’s driver’s license may be suspended if he or she refuses to submit to a field sobriety test (if he or she is operating a watercraft with an engine rated at 50 horsepower or more.
  • Confiscation of Texas driver’s license. If you’re given an ALR, the law enforcement officer takes your physical driver’s license and gives you temporary license. He or she must also provide you with a notice of the ALR in addition to the temporary license.
  • Civil punishment. ALR isn’t a criminal punishment. It’s not a conviction. You must be convicted to receive a sentence. An ALR is a type of automatic sanction given by the police in certain circumstances. You don’t fight an ALR in court—although you must go to court to fight DWI charges.
  • Two cases. You appear before the Texas Department of Public Safety to contest the ALR. This is one case. Your DWI or BWI case is the second case.

Texas Department of Public Safety: ALR Hearing

  • Right to appeal. You may contest the ALR. You must ask for an administrative hearing concerning the punishment.
  • Fifteen days to request an ALR appeal hearing (or automatic suspension). You must ask for the ALR appeal hearing as soon as possible. Contact an experienced DWI lawyer as soon as possible after arrest. If you don’t request the ALR hearing within the 15-day window, you face automatic driver’s license suspension. You’ll need to use public transportation or ask someone else to provide transportation to and from work, etc.
  • Forty days to appeal. You have just 40 days (usually from your date of arrest) to contest the ALR before your driver’s license suspension begins.
  • ALR hearing letter. After your administrative hearing is properly scheduled, the Texas Department of Public Safety notifies you of the location, date, and time of the hearing (up to 120 days from the date it issues the letter).
  • ALR administrative hearing. The ALR hearing doesn’t take place in court. It’s not a criminal process. An administrative law judge (ALJ) presides over the hearing. A DWI defense attorney may represent you at the hearing. It’s in your best interests to have an attorney at that time. He will do everything possible to protect your legal rights.
  • ALR discovery importance. The hearing presents two opportunities: 1) to potentially avoid loss of driving privileges and 2) to challenge the driver’s license suspension (and gain additional insight about the DWI case against the defendant). The discovery made available through the ALR hearing may be exceptionally valuable to the defense.
  • Occupational license. Alternatively, you can request an occupational license during the driver’s license suspension period. An occupational license will provide you with some essential driving privileges, such as driving to and from school or work.
  • Right to appeal the ALJ’s decision. If the ALJ decides to suspend your driver’s license, you have the right to appeal his or her decision.

Resolution of the ALR

If the defendant’s case results in no suspension of the driver’s license at the ALR hearing, the Department of Public Safety must return it. Otherwise:

  • If the suspension was ordered after a hearing or automatically, the driver must pay a $125.00 reinstatement fee to reinstate the driver’s license.
  • A special form is required to reinstate driving privileges. Your DWI defense attorney will provide you with the correct driver’s license reinstatement form. The driver must mail the form and reinstatement fee (personal check, money order, or cashier’s check) via certified mail (return receipt requested) to the Driver Improvement & Control, Texas Department of Public Safety, PO Box 15999, Austin, TX 78761-5999.
  • Because of long bureaucratic wait times, it’s advisable to send the reinstatement fee as soon as the suspension is ordered.

Contact an Experienced DWI Defense Attorney in Houston

A DWI or BWI charge is often a rude awakening. If you or someone you love was arrested for DWI and you have questions about an Administrative License Revocation, it’s crucial for you to consult with an experienced DWI defense attorney now. He will fight your driver’s license suspension and protect your legal rights.

Contact The Law Office of Greg Tsioros in Houston at 832-752-5972 to schedule an initial case evaluation now.

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