DWI License Suspension in Texas

There are two separate types of license suspension associated with DWIs in Texas: an administrative license revocation, and license suspension ordered as a penalty of a DWI criminal conviction.

If you are charged with a DWI in Texas, you have 15 days from the date of your arrest to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing, where you can contest the suspension of your driver’s license by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Failure to request an ALR hearing within this period will lead to an automatic administrative suspension of your driver’s license.

If you are convicted of DWI, your license may be suspended for a longer period as a criminal penalty. 

To avoid the worst outcome, you should contact an experienced DWI defense attorney immediately.

How Long Will a DWI Driver’s License Suspension Last in Texas?

The length of a DWI driver’s license suspension will differ depending on whether it is an administrative suspension, a criminal suspension, or both. Additionally, aggravating factors such as previous DWI convictions will lengthen the suspension period.

Administrative License Revocation

The Administrative License Revocation hearing is an administrative process that is unrelated to any criminal license suspension resulting from a DWI conviction.

If you fail a blood or breathalyzer test or refuse to take a breathalyzer test after you’ve been pulled over, the officer will suspend your driver’s license, issue you a suspension notice, and provide you with a temporary driving permit.

Your license will not be immediately suspended. The temporary driving permit will allow you to continue driving legally for up to 40 days after the date of your arrest.

You will then have 15 days to request an ALR hearing to contest the suspension of your license. If you do not request an ALR hearing, your license will automatically be suspended around 40 days after the date that the suspension notice was served, for the following periods:

  • A minimum of 90 days for failing a breath, blood, or urine analysis BAC test
  • A minimum of 180 days for refusing to carry out a breath, blood, or urine analysis BAC DWI  test

Various factors, such as a previous DWI, can lengthen this period to up to 2 years.

Driver’s License Suspension as a Criminal Penalty

Regardless of whether you receive an administrative license suspension, if you are then convicted of DWI, your license could be suspended as a criminal penalty. The criminal suspension length will differ depending on several factors, including whether you’ve had previous DWI convictions.

  • For a first-time DWI conviction, your license could be suspended for between 90 days and 1 year.
  • For a second or third DWI conviction, your license could be suspended for between 180 days and 2 years.
  • A conviction for DWI with a child passenger will result in a license suspension of up to 180 days.

If you are convicted of a DWI, the time your license was suspended under the administrative penalty can be credited toward the criminal suspension.

The Best Strategy to Contest a DWI License Suspension in Texas

Fighting Your ALR 

An administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing is a civil court hearing where the Department of Public Safety will argue why your license should be suspended following a DWI arrest. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will listen to all parties, including the defense. The focus will be to determine the following:

  • Whether the officer had reasonable suspicion to pull you over
  • Whether the officer had probable cause to arrest you
  • Whether you refused a breath, blood, or urine analysis BAC test
  • If you took a test, whether you registered a BAC level of 0.08% or higher

Your defense lawyer may use different strategies to cast doubt on the DPS’s case against you. For example, if it is shown during the hearing that the arresting officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over, the arrest may be deemed unlawful, and the case dismissed.

However, you only have 15 days from the date the notice of suspension is served to request an ALR hearing. If you miss this deadline, the suspension will automatically go ahead.

It is crucial to seek legal advice from an experienced DWI lawyer as soon as possible and request an ALR hearing before this deadline. Not only is the ALR hearing your only chance to contest the suspension of your driving license, but it also may be a good opportunity to prepare and gather evidence for your criminal trial. An ALR hearing will allow your defense lawyer to determine the strength of the state’s DWI case against you.

If you have been served with a notice of suspension in the last 15 days, you should request an ALR hearing and schedule a meeting with an experienced DWI attorney as soon as possible.

Fighting DWI Charges

Your ALR battle is a part of a larger, overall DWI defense case. It’s also vital to build a strong, strategic defense case against your DWI criminal charges.

A DWI conviction in Texas usually results in severe punishments, including thousands of dollars in penalties and state fines, jail time, suspension of your driver’s license, and a permanent criminal record. This in turn makes it harder to get employed, and bar you from some professions altogether.

The role of a DWI defense attorney is to minimize the consequences of a DWI, and—if possible—have the charges thrown out altogether. A competent lawyer will not only help you hold on to your driving privileges, but they’ll also fight for the best outcome in your DWI trial.

The most important step you can take to improve your chances of a better outcome is to contact an experienced DWI defense lawyer now.

How to Regain Driving Privileges After DWI License Suspension in Texas?

If your license is suspended following a DWI conviction, there are two ways in which you may be able to retain your right to drive.

Restricted Interlock License

A restricted interlock license allows you to drive a vehicle that is fitted with an ignition interlock device (IID). An IID is a breathalyzer that is connected to your vehicle. To start the car, you must first pass the breathalyzer test—if you fail the breathalyzer test, your vehicle will not start. Repeatedly failing your interlock test could result in losing this restricted license, or even jail time depending on your bond conditions.

To be eligible for a restricted interlock license, you must meet the following conditions:

  • This was your first DWI
  • Your BAC level was less than 0.15%
  • Your vehicle has been equipped with an IID

Occupational Driver’s License

Also known as an “essential need license,” this restricted license permits you to drive a non-commercial vehicle for the following purposes:

  • Work
  • Performance of essential household duties, or
  • School-related activities

Applying for an occupational driver’s license is a lengthy, often complex, process. A DWI lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible for an ODL and review your application forms, increasing your chances of a successful request.

An Experienced DWI Attorney Is Your Best Defense Against a License Suspension

Legal representation from a skilled DWI attorney will increase your chances of a successful ALR hearing. With a track record of successful ALR hearings and over 50 years of experience in handling DWI cases, Michael & Associates knows how to put together a winning defense strategy.

If you have just been handed a suspension notice, time is of the essence. Schedule your free case review with Michael & Associates today.

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