The ALR hearing is a civil proceeding which allows you to fight the suspension of your driver’s license. You have 15 days from the date of your arrest to request a driver’s license hearing; this request is sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety (TX DPS).
Often times the officer tells those being detained for DWI that if they take the breath test, they will not lose their license. This notion is slightly misleading. It is true that if you refuse to give a specimen of your breath or blood, the officer can take your driver’s license from you. However, the same is true if you FAIL a breath or blood test. Therefore, even if you consent to giving a specimen of your breath or blood, TX DPS can still try and suspend your license if the result is a .08 or higher.
Once a person requests the ALR hearing, the TX DPS will have to prove their case against you. First, they will have to prove that the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop you, and probable cause to arrest you. If the Department cannot meet this burden, then you win the hearing.
The TX DPS must also prove that you either REFUSED to take a breath or blood test, or you consented to a breath or blood sample and your BAC was a .08 or higher.
First, the ALR is important for your case first and foremost for potentially keeping your license from being suspended.
Second, an ALR can be valuable as a discovery tool by eliciting testimony from the arresting officer if he or she is subpoenaed, and shows up to testify at the hearing. This allows an attorney to question the officer, under oath, prior to cross examination of the same officer at your criminal trial.
If the officer does not show up to the ALR hearing, a person wins by default. When the officer does show up, it is important to have an experienced DWI lawyer to ask the right questions of the officer.