License Suspension Hearings

Administrative License Revocation Hearing


Many people are aware that the consequences of driving while intoxicated usually involve a combination of jail time and fines. However, many people overlook the penalty that could have the biggest short-term consequences: the ability to drive legally in Texas.


When an individual is arrested for refusing to submit to or failing a DWI breath or blood test, he or she can lose his or her driving privileges for a lengthy amount of time. Fortunately, when a license suspension is handed down to an individual, he or she has the right to an administrative hearing, which could potentially reverse the suspension.


Refusing a Chemical Blood or Breath Test after a DUI Arrest


According to Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 724.035, if a law enforcement official asks an individual to submit to a chemical test to determine whether or not the individual may be intoxicated, and the individual refuses, he or she can receive an administrative license suspension for 180 days or for one year if the individual possesses a commercial driver’s license.


If the individual refuses the chemical test, has previously refused to take such a test, and has been convicted of other DWI related offense within the last 10 years, the suspension can be for up to two years.


Texas License Suspension Periods for Failed DWI Chemical Tests


Individuals who submit to a chemical test and have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher can also be subjected to a suspension for 90 days if this is the first offense, or for one year if they have been convicted of any drunk driving related offense in the past 10 years.


If a commercial driver who is operating a commercial vehicle and has a BAC of .04, or any driver under the age of 21 has any amount of alcohol in his or her system, they can face administrative suspensions as well.


Bexar County Administrative License Revocation Hearing Process


As stated by Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 724.041, a driver who has been given an administrative license suspension or revocation can request a hearing within 15 days of being formally notified of the suspension. If no hearing is requested, the suspension will go into effect 40 days after the individual has been notified of the impending suspension.


If the hearing is requested before the 15th day, the State Office of Administrative Hearings will conduct a hearing on the suspension or revocation. During this time, the license suspension will be delayed until a decision is made by the administrative judge presiding over the hearing.


If the judge determines that the suspension should be upheld, the decision is final. If he or she decides that it should be overturned, the individual’s license will be reinstated, and the driver will maintain all driving privileges.


Determining Factors at an Administrative License Revocation Hearing


During an administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing, the judge will review the evidence in the case and make a decision on whether the suspension should be upheld or overturned.


According to Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 724.042, if the driver had his or her license suspended for refusing to submit to a chemical test, the judge will use the following factors to determine the validity of the suspension:


  • If the officer had reasonable suspicion to conduct a traffic stop;
  • Whether or not the officer had probable cause to suspect that the driver was operating the vehicle in a public place while intoxicated;
  • If the officer had probable cause to make an arrest; and
  • Whether or not the arresting officer properly requested the individual to provide either a breath or blood specimen and the individual refused to do so.


If the individual had his or her driver’s license suspended for failing a DWI chemical test, the judge will use the following factors to determine whether or not the driver’s license suspension should be upheld:


  • The individual operated a vehicle in a public place with a BAC above the legal limit (.08 for most adults, .04 for commercial drivers);
  • The driver who was less than 21 years old operated a vehicle in a public place with a detectable amount of alcohol in his or her system; and
  • The officer had reasonable suspicion to pull the driver over and had probable cause to make an arrest.


Results of a DWI License Suspension Hearing


Clearly, one of the most important positive results of an ALR hearing is that you may get your license back. For those who drive every day to and from work, this is essential to maintaining your way of life after a DWI.


The ALR hearing has the added bonus that it may help you defend against your DWI charge. For an ALR hearing, there is “discovery,” meaning that your DWI lawyer can request important documents like the arrest reports. If the officer must testify, then he or she is on the record with sworn testimony. If any of that testimony changes between the ALR hearing and the trial, your lawyer will be sure to let the jury know about it.


Keeping Your Texas Driver’s License After a DUI Arrest in San Antonio


If you have been arrested or charged with DWI and you are facing a driver’s license suspension, contact Dave Parent today so that he can help ensure that you are adequately prepared to fight for your driving privileges. Losing your ability to drive legally can have a devastating impact on your ability to live a normal life.


Contact Dave Parent today at 210-819-4111 to set up a consultation to review the circumstances surrounding your arrest and your legal options to protect your license. Your initial consultation is always free and will help provide you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about the future of your license.


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