DWI License Suspension
In Texas, being arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) brings on two separate cases: criminal and civil.
If you are found guilty in the criminal case, you may be sentenced to jail time, fines, probation, and community service.
If you are found guilty in the civil case, you face an Administrative License Revocation (ALR).
The civil case typically begins as soon as the driver is arrested for DWI. If the driver fails the breath test or refuses to take one, the ALR suspension will be initiated.
You may wonder why your license would be suspended if you do not take the breath test. This is due to Texas’s “implied consent” laws. When you signed for your driver’s license, you agreed to provide a blood or breath specimen if arrested for drunk driving.
The consequences for a test refusal are greater than for a test failure. If you refused to take the test, your license will be suspended for 180 days. If you failed the breath test, your license will be suspended for 90 days.
When you are arrested for DWI, the officer will take your license and issue you a temporary driving permit that will expire 41 days after the date it was issued. If you request a hearing to challenge the suspension, it will delay the ALR sanctions until your hearing can take place.
It is important to note that this ALR suspension is automatic unless you request a hearing with the Department of Public Safety within 15 days. If you do not request a hearing within this time, your license will automatically be suspended on the 41 st day after your arrest.
During your hearing, the burden of proof is on the Department of Public Safety. They must prove that the officer had reasonable suspicion and probable cause to arrest the driver. They must also prove that the officer explained the ramifications of refusing a breath or blood test and that the driver refused or failed the test.
If your license is reinstated after this hearing, you will have to submit a reinstatement fee of $125 to the Department of Public Safety.
This hearing is important for two reasons: first and foremost, it is needed in order to protect your driving privileges. Secondly, the hearing allows your attorney to discover the best way to defend you when your case goes to criminal court.