Most people don't realize that after you've been arrested for a DWI, there are two separate proceedings you can expect to face: an administrative hearing and a criminal proceeding. It is important that you request an administrative “ALR” hearing without delay since your license could be suspended prior to any guilty verdict on your criminal case if you fail to do so.
If you are arrested for a DWI offense, the officer will request you to provide a specimen of your breath or blood. The Texas Department of Public Safety will suspend your license if you provide a breath or blood specimen above 0.08 or if you refuse to provide a specimen of blood or breath.
DWI doesn't just apply to being in a car. You can also be asked to submit to chemical testing (blood, breath, or urine) if you are caught operating a watercraft and are suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you do not request a hearing to contest the suspension of your license, you can expect to lose driving privileges for driving any motor vehicle.
Timing is very important in regard to requesting an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing, as you only have 15 days after your arrest to submit the request for the hearing. What happens if you don't request an ALR hearing? Your license will automatically be suspended on the 41st day if you do not request an ALR hearing. Several factors can contribute to the length of time of the suspension. Two of them include whether or not you have prior DWI convictions, and what offense you were charged with.
Requesting an ALR hearing will postpone the suspension of your driver license until the date of the hearing. You will be notified by mail of the hearing date and time. An Administrative Law Judge will preside at the hearing.
Challenging Suspension of Your License at an ALR Hearing
When the police pulled you over for a traffic stop, there might have been two officers involved who investigated you prior to your arrest for a suspected DWI. These police officers could then be subpoenaed to testify at your ALR hearing. One of the officers could have initially stopped you, with the second officer requesting that you submit to chemical testing and standard field sobriety tests. If there was a lack of probable cause or a lack of reasonable suspicion, this could help you challenge the reason you were pulled over and subsequently arrested for a DWI.
Evidence as to whether you were in physical control or operating a watercraft or automobile may be challenged. Often, a person gets arrested after the police find them sleeping behind the wheel in their vehicle, not as a result of having been stopped for a traffic violation as is usually the case.
If there are facts regarding whether or not you were actually in control of your vehicle, you can bring them up to challenge your license suspension at your ALR hearing. Some things to consider are whether or not the keys to the car were actually accessible to you or if your car was even operable. This is important because if the keys were in the ignition when the police arrived, this circumstantial evidence could give the police the probable cause they needed to make the DWI arrest. Observations by any witnesses and the police as to whether or not you were seen driving are also essential facts for consideration.
An occupational license would be an option if your license to operate a vehicle is suspended. This type of license would give you permission to legally drive to work and school, as well as take care of any essential household duties. However, there can be restrictions to an occupational license, such as driving between certain hours of the day and using an approved route.
Driving with an interlock device installed on your car might also be a condition of being given a restricted license. With this device installed on your car, you would need to provide a sample of your breath to detect alcohol. If alcohol is detected by the device and indicates you are above the legal limit for driving, the vehicle will not start.
Benefits of Attorney Representation at an ALR Hearing
A low burden of proof is needed to demonstrate reasonable suspicion for being stopped for a DWI and arrested. As a result, it can be difficult to win at your ALR hearing. While DPS has a very easy burden to meet and makes it easy for them to win, there is still a huge value in having an ALR Hearing. Not only do you get a preview of the evidence, but you can have the officers testify about the case without having the preparation with the prosecutors who will handle the criminal case. This allows the ALR hearing to help on the underlying criminal case.
It is an advantage to have a criminal defense attorney represent you at your ALR hearing. Though you can represent yourself at your hearing without one, your attorney can cross-examine the police officers on your behalf as your attorney will know the crucial questions to ask. Having an experienced DWI attorney represent you in your ALR hearing not only gives you a better chance at success but also will provide the attorney with helpful information that can assist him as he or she works on your defense.
Contact an Experienced DWI Attorney In Austin, Texas
Schedule a Consultation With Austin, Texas DWI Attorney Jason S. English
If you have been charged with DWI in Texas and have questions about challenging a field sobriety test, contact Texas DWI defense attorney Jason S. English online or call (512) 454-7548 for more information.
As someone who prosecuted cases for over 15 years, Jason S. English understands the strategies prosecutors employ in drunk driving criminal cases to coerce the accused into pleading guilty. Before you plead guilty to any crime, understand your rights and explore your options for fighting the criminal charges.
When you're dealing with a DWI, it's not an exaggeration to say that your life depends on retaining an experienced, innovative criminal defense attorney. Attorney Jason S. English recognizes that your freedom depends on his legal prowess in and outside the courtroom. Contact Jason S. English today at (512) 454-7548 or online for an initial consultation and help with your DWI arrest.