How to Fight Your Administrative License Suspension
The Texas Department of Public Safety operates the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) program. The ALR program processes the administrative license suspensions of all those arrested for a DWI in Texas. Those facing ALR action, however, have a right to request an administrative hearing at which they can contest the suspension. Administrative hearings are different than criminal court hearings and require a different burden of proof and evidentiary rules. To help you navigate the ALR program and fight your license suspension here’s some helpful information to get you started.
Time Is Running Out
You only have 15 days from the date you receive your notice of license suspension to request your ALR hearing. Note that if the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) mailed you the notice, your receipt is presumed to be five days from the postmark date on the envelope. So, if the DPS does not have your current mailing address, you could run into trouble. Make sure you contact the DPS as soon as possible if you were arrested for a DWI but have not received your notice yet. The DPS will deny any requests for hearings received after 15 days. If you don’t request a hearing, the ALR program will suspend your license 40 days after you receive your notice.
How to Request a Texas ALR Hearing
You will need a few pieces of information to request a hearing, such as the date and county of your arrest, the name of the arresting agency and of the arresting officer. The notice of suspension should include the information you need for the request. Request your ALR hearing by phone, mail or online. Mailing your request (certified with return receipt) or requesting it online is preferable, as you’ll have written proof of the request.
It may take between 30-60 days to get a hearing. Typically, you can request your hearing be held either live or over the phone. If you cannot make the initial hearing date, you may be able to request a continuance if made at least five days before the scheduled hearing.
Once you have your hearing date, your attorney can request discovery for you. Discovery is the evidence the DPS has in its possession. Typically, this will include the police report and chemical test results. During this phase, you can also subpoena witnesses. You will also be given the specific elements the DPS must prove to suspend your license in your Notice of Hearing. Review these elements with your attorney to plan your defense. Many factors can be questioned such as:
- Whether the officer stopped you lawfully
- Whether the officer arrested you lawfully
- Were you read the DIC-24 prior to being asked to consent to a breath or blood test?
- Did you refuse after being read the DIC-24?
- Did you fail the blood or breath test?
- If you failed the blood or breath test, there are multiple aspects of each test that may be challenged.
Sometimes even small mistakes in ALR paperwork can turn the case in the defendant’s favor. Always work closely with an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth DWI defense attorney who has handled ALR hearings. This is to ensure you take advantage of every weakness, ask the right questions at the hearing and leverage every fact you can.
Your ALR Hearing
Always request an ALR hearing, even if you think you will lose. If you plan on taking your DWI case to trial, you can use the discovery (i.e. information, testimony, and evidence) obtained at the hearing to help you prepare for your trial. If you prevail, the DPS will not suspend your license. If you don’t, the DPS will suspend your license, but you can appeal the decision. If your license is ultimately suspended, you can obtain an Occupational Driver’s License (ODL).
Again, the ALR hearing is an opportunity you should take advantage of. But work with a skilled attorney with a good track record of prevailing at ALR hearings. These hearings are administrative (rather than criminal) and revolve around relatively few elements. Thus, they can be easier to win than criminal cases. It’s an ideal chance to contest your license suspension while you’re waiting for your DWI case to resolve.
If you need help dealing with a DWI license suspension in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.