License Suspension Hearings
When people are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas, they actually have two different cases that need to be addressed. In addition to criminal charges, an alleged offender must also deal with a civil proceeding concerning their driving privileges.
The civil matter is called an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing. After the DWI arrest, the alleged offender only has 15 days to request a hearing to fight to invalidate the suspension and protect the driving privileges. If a person does not request a hearing, then his or her license will automatically be suspended.
Fort Worth Lawyer for ALR Hearings
Were you recently arrested for DWI in the greater Tarrant County area? You need to take action as soon as possible in order to protect your driving privileges.
The Fort Worth attorneys for license suspension hearings at Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC help clients in Fort Worth, Arlington, and many surrounding communities in Tarrant County as well as Weatherford, Cleburne, and nearby Parker County, Johnson County, and North Central Texas.
Call 817-502-3600 right now to receive an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a completely free initial consultation.
Overview of ALR Hearings in Tarrant County
- What generally happens at these hearings?
- How long can a person’s license be suspended?
- Where can I learn more about ALR hearings?
An alleged offender who is charged with DWI in Texas has 15 days from the date of his or her arrest to request an ALR hearing. An administrative law judge (ALJ) presides over the hearing. At the hearing, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has to prove—by a preponderance of the evidence—that the license should be suspended.
If an alleged offender failed an alcohol concentration test, then DPS is required under Texas Transportation Code § 524.035 to prove whether:
- The alleged offender had an alcohol concentration of a level specified by Texas Penal Code § 49.01(2)(B), while operating a motor vehicle in a public place or while operating a watercraft or the alleged offender was a minor on the date that the breath or blood specimen was obtained and had any detectable amount of alcohol in his or her system while operating a motor vehicle in a public place or while operating a watercraft; and
- Whether reasonable suspicion to stop or probable cause to arrest the alleged offender existed.
If an alleged offender refused to submit to a test of his or her alcohol concentration, then Texas Transportation Code § 724.042 requires DPS to prove whether:
- Reasonable suspicion or probable cause existed to stop or arrest the alleged offender;
- Probable cause existed to believe that the alleged offender was operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated or operating a watercraft powered with an engine having a manufacturer's rating of 50 horsepower or above while intoxicated;
- The alleged offender was placed under arrest by the officer and was requested to submit to the taking of a specimen; and
- The alleged offender refused to submit to the taking of a specimen on request of the officer.
One of the primary benefits of ALR hearings for alleged offenders is that the hearings allow for discovery that can help lawyers prepare for the criminal DWI cases. Police officers do not take the ALR hearings as seriously as the criminal trials, which provides defense attorneys some very good opportunities to gain valuable sworn testimony that could be used later on.
An alleged offender also has the option of deciding whether a hearing will be conducted through a live hearing or by conference call. An experienced lawyer will know which venue could be more advantageous for your particular case, as live hearings allow attorneys to view body language of police officers but telephone hearings are advantageous because cases are dismissed if an officer is not available when the ALJ calls.
ALR Hearings heavily rely on law enforcement paperwork. Missing, incomplete, or inaccurate documents such as DIC-23A, DIC-24, or DIC-56 forms can result in cases being dismissed.
If the ALJ denies the DPS request for a suspension, then DPS must return the alleged offender’s driver's license to him or her, reinstate the license, and rescind an order prohibiting the issuance of a driver's license to the client. If the ALJ grants the request for suspension, then the lengths of suspension for adult offenders are as follows:
- 90 days for first failure to pass test for intoxication;
- 180 days for first refusal to submit to test for intoxication;
- One year for failure to pass test for intoxication if the alleged offender has one or more alcohol- or drug-related contacts within the 10-year period preceding the current arrest;
- Two years for refusal to submit to test for intoxication if the alleged offender has one or more alcohol- or drug-related contacts within the 10-year period preceding the current arrest.
If the alleged offender is a minor, then the ALR suspension is 60 days for first failure to pass test for intoxication or 180 days for first refusal to submit to test for intoxication. The suspension is 120 days if the minor has one previous conviction and 180 days if the minor has two or more prior convictions.
If an ALJ grants the request for suspension, an alleged offender has 30 days to file an ALR appeal. The appeal petition must be certified by the clerk of the court where the petition was filed, and needs to be filed in a county court at law in the county in which the alleged offender was arrested.
ALR Hearing | State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) — You can learn more about the ALR program in Texas on this website. This section of the SOAH website covers the location of hearings, law governing hearings, and your rights. You can also learn more about who ALJs are and what they can and cannot do.
Fort Worth Field Office
6777 Camp Bowie Boulevard
Fort Worth, TX 76116
Evaluation of Administrative License Revocation as a DWI Countermeasure — This report was prepared after Texas began enforcing ALR on January 1, 1995. You can review ALR statistics, including ALR suspension notices served, hearings requested, and defaults (failures to appear). The study also makes a number of recommendations in its conclusion.
Find a DWI Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, TX
If you were arrested for DWI in North Central Texas, you must take immediate action to protect your ability to drive. Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC represents clients throughout Fort Worth, Arlington, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County in ALR hearings.
Our Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys also defend people in Cleburne, Weatherford, and additional communities in Johnson County and Parker County. We can review your case as soon as you call 817-502-3600 or complete an online form to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.