A DWI arrest may trigger a driver’s license suspension if you refuse or fail a chemical test to measure the level of alcohol in your system. After your refusal or failure, you will receive a notice of suspension and will have a certain amount of time to request an administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing to contest the action against your driving privileges. At issue during the hearing is whether the officer lawfully stopped and arrested you and whether you refused or failed the chemical test.
Your driver's license will be reinstated if you successfully challenge the administrative suspension. However, if you are unsuccessful, you may lose your driving privileges. The suspension period depends on whether you refused or failed the test and whether you committed any violations previously. The results of the ALR hearing have no bearing on the criminal proceedings in your DWI case.
At Deandra Grant Law, we represent clients at ALR hearings and in criminal court. To schedule a consultation with a member of our Dallas team, please call us at (214) 225-7117 or contact us online today.
What Is an ALR Hearing?
Under Texas’s implied consent law, any person lawfully arrested for DWI has permitted authorities to analyze a blood or breath sample to determine their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). An office may take you into custody for suspicion of driving while intoxicated and direct you to provide a specimen for testing.
If you refuse the chemical test, the officer may take your driver’s license and issue a temporary driving permit along with a notice of suspension. If you take the chemical test, you will keep your driver’s license until the results are returned. If the analysis reveals that you had a BAC of 0.08% or higher, you will receive a notice of suspension in the mail.
The notice informs you of the following:
- The reason your driving privileges will be suspended
- The date the suspension becomes effective
- Your right to an ALR hearing, and
- The deadline for requesting the hearing.
To challenge an administrative driver’s license suspension, you must request your hearing on the 15th day (if you refused the test) or the 20th day (if you failed the test) after receiving the suspension notice. Your driver’s license will be suspended on the 40th day after getting the notice if you do not schedule an ALR hearing.
What Issues Are at Focus During the ALR Hearing?
The ALR hearing is an administrative matter separate from your criminal case.
The focus is on whether:
- The officer had reasonable suspension to stop you,
- The officer had probable cause to arrest you,
- You refused the chemical test, or you had a BAC of 0.08% or more.
During the hearing, you may present evidence to challenge the allegations against you. Additionally, a certified chemical test technical supervisor may testify about the reliability of the machine used to analyze your blood or breath sample. The chemical test operator may also be called to discuss the procedures for taking and analyzing your specimen.
What Happens If You Are Successful at the ALR Hearing?
Success at the ALR hearing means you have shown that your stop or arrest was unlawful and that you did not refuse or fail the chemical test. If you can do this, your driving privileges will not be suspended, and a physical driver’s license will be returned to you.
What Happens If You Are Unsuccessful at the ALR Hearing?
If the administrative law judge hearing your case finds that the issues at hand were proven by a preponderance of the evidence, your driving privileges will be suspended. The suspension period varies based on the facts.
Driver’s license suspension for chemical test failure is for:
- 90 days for a first offense and
- 1 year for a second or subsequent offense
Driver’s license suspension for chemical test refusal is for:
- 180 days for a first offense and
- 2 years for a second or subsequent offense
Do the ALR Hearing Results Affect the Criminal Trial?
The administrative and criminal processes in a DWI case are separate. The administrative process is concerned with the chemical test. In contrast, the criminal process is concerned with guilt or innocence of driving while intoxicated. Whether you are successful or unsuccessful at the ALR hearing will not impact criminal prosecution.
That said, if you are acquitted of the DWI charge, an administrative driver’s license suspension may not be imposed. If your driver’s license was suspended before the acquittal, it should be reinstated.
Get Help from an Attorney
Challenging an administrative driver’s license suspension can be difficult. You must present various pieces of evidence and develop compelling arguments to contest the action. Fortunately, you don’t have to do this on your own. A criminal defense lawyer can assist, putting their knowledge to work to seek a favorable outcome.
If you need legal help with the administrative and/or criminal processes associated with your DWI, reach out to our Dallas attorneys at Deandra Grant Law by calling (214) 225-7117 or submitting an online contact form.