An administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing is an opportunity for you to challenge whether your driver’s license will be suspended or revoked when a driving while intoxication (DWI) charge has been placed against you.
At the ALR hearing, the prosecution will present their evidence in an attempt to have your license revoked or suspended. You will have the same opportunity to present your evidence as to why your license should not. You can have your attorney present with you at this hearing. The state has the burden of proof in this proceeding, and your lawyer will defend against the state’s case.
The administrative law judge will consider all the evidence from both sides and determine whether your license should be suspended. If you are displeased with the judge’s final determination, you have the right to appeal it. The outcome of the hearing does not affect your criminal DWI case, although, there are crossover issues such as the circumstances for the arrest and the issue of probable cause.
DWI Charges in Texas
A DWI in Texas can come with severe penalties and fines, starting with your arrest and the suspension of your driving privileges starting at the time of your arrest. If you refuse to take the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) test, or if you take the test and receive an 0.08 BAC or more, the arresting officer will take your license away and give you a notice of hearing. The notice of hearing informs you that you have 15 days from the date of the arrest to request an ALR hearing to have your driving privileges restored. The hearing is not in a court and is conducted by an administrative law judge who hears the evidence regarding the revocation of your license.
If you are dependent on your vehicle for work-related reasons, you can request an occupational license, which will give you limited driving privileges to get to and from work and other essential activities. If you do not request the hearing, you have 40 days after receiving the notice of suspension before your license is automatically suspended.
Requesting an ALR Hearing in Texas
You can request your ALR hearing by mail, phone, or online. It is important to remember that you have 15 days from your arrest date, so being aware of the deadline date is vital. The information you need for the request includes the date of the arrest, the county where the arrest occurred, the name of the arresting agency, and the name of the arresting officer. To make sure that your hearing takes place in a timely manner, you may want to make the request online.
An ALR Hearing Is Not a Criminal Proceeding
It is important to understand that the ALR is not to determine guilt. It is an opportunity for you to retain your driving privileges. That said, the state still bears the burden of proof, and the evidence presented can be used at a later date. If you refused to take the blood or breath field sobriety test, the state must prove that:
- Law enforcement had reasonable suspicion to stop you
- Law enforcement had probable cause that you were driving while intoxicated
- Law enforcement placed you under arrest and requested that you take a blood or breath test
- You refused to take the test
If you took the test, the state must prove that:
- Your BAC test had a reading of 0.08 or more
- There was reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop you
Your attorney will usually subpoena the arresting officer and cross-examine them. Information gathered at the ALR hearing will help you in your criminal case.
Keeping Your License
Your lawyer will examine the facts of the case and may offer a defense such as:
- Law enforcement did not have probable cause to stop you
- Law enforcement did not ask you to take a blood or breath test
- If you took the test, the results were not accurate
- The test was not administered properly
- The state’s documentation is incorrect
- Your consent to take the test was not freely given
If you are permitted to maintain your driving privileges at the ALR hearing, the above may be helpful at your criminal hearing.
Why an ALR Hearing Is Important
Because the state’s burden of proof is relatively low, it is possible that you may lose at the hearing. However, during the discovery process, your attorney will learn what evidence the state has against you so they can build a strong defense to the charges and prepare for your criminal case. Your lawyer will receive the police reports, data information from the breathalyzer machine, and sworn testimony from the arresting officer. Regardless of whether your license is suspended, revoked, or returned to you, your attorney will have access to the state’s evidence to defend your criminal case.
Having an attorney by your side during your ALR hearing in Texas and criminal hearing is important. If you have been charged with a DWI in Texas, call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg at (214) 696-9253 for a free case review.