Driver's License Questions
If your license was not suspended prior to being pulled over, your license should not be suspended automatically just because you were arrested for a DWI. A person has 15 days from the date of their arrest to request a hearing on the suspension on their driver’s license.
The request is sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Once a hearing is properly requested, The Texas Department of Public Safety will provide you with a hearing date to fight the suspension of your driver’s license.
A person is able to drive up to the time of the hearing, and if the Department cannot prove the required elements a person’s license will not be suspended as a civil matter from this incident. Read more about the license hearing here.
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.
The ALR hearing is completely separate from your criminal case. The outcome of one will not affect the outcome or status of the other.
However, if the officer testifies at the license hearing, his testimony cannot change when he shows up later to testify at your criminal trial. Sometimes this can be problematic for an officer who testifies to one fact/ opinion at the license hearing, and then his answers change at the criminal trial.
For example, an officer testifies at the license hearing that he smelled a slight odor of alcohol on someone’s breath after they exited their vehicle. Then, several months later at the person’s criminal trial, the officer testifies that he smelled a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage as soon as he approached the car.
If your attorney is well prepared, he can use this conflicting testimony to show the jury the officer might have credibility issues in the case.
If your license is suspended from an administrative license revocation hearing, or due to a DWI conviction, you might be eligible for an occupational driver’s license. If the court grants an occupational license, the permit allows you to drive under certain conditions while your license is suspended. Requirements and restrictions can vary by county and by court.
In addition to a court filing fee, a person will also have to pay $125 reinstatement fee to TX DPS.
Furthermore, all occupational licenses require a ignition interlock machine in your vehicle. This requires you to submit a breath sample before your car would turn on.
Also, a person must purchase SR 22 insurance for the duration of the occupational license. Cannon Law recommends not purchasing this SR 22 insurance through your insurance company. This puts them on notice of your pending charges unnecessarily. Rather there are local companies which you can purchase this special insurance through online.
To see if you are eligible for an occupational license, or for SR 22 Insurance recommendations, contact Cannon Law