In addition to providing a strong and effective criminal defense for clients charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), the Houston attorneys at McLemore, Reddell & Story, P.L.L.C. also represent clients at the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearing before the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). If you have been arrested for DWI, you face serious penalties if you are convicted, including fines and jail time. The potential punishment increases significantly if you have previous DWI convictions. It is therefore entirely reasonable that you may be focused solely on saving yourself from a criminal conviction and not worried at all about having your driver’s license suspended by DPS for a few months. Yet there are important reasons why the ALR hearing should not be taken lightly. Besides holding onto your driver’s license, success at the ALR hearing can be a tremendous help in beating the criminal case as well.
The ALR Suspension Process
Failing a chemical test of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) by registering .08% or more on a breath test will initiate the ALR suspension process. Also, refusing to take a test will also cause your license to be suspended. In most cases, the arresting officer will take your license on the spot and issue you a temporary driving permit that is good for 40 days. The officer will also give you a notice of your right to request an ALR hearing regarding the suspension. Sometimes this notice is not given to you at the time but is instead mailed to you soon after. The date you receive this notice is very important because you only have 15 days to request a hearing from the date of the notice.
At this hearing, the state must be able to prove that you either failed or refused the breath test and also that the officer had probable cause to stop you and test you in the first place. You have the right to cross-examine the officer and challenge the officer’s authority to make the stop and conduct the search, as well as to question the testing equipment or procedures used and other aspects associated with the arrest. If you are successful in this hearing, your license will not be suspended. Even more importantly, you have a record and transcript that you can use in your favor in the criminal case. If the ALR hearing reveals the weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case, you may even be able to have the criminal charges against you dismissed, meaning you will not have to face a trial and may not have a criminal record hanging over you.
Experienced Texas DWI Lawyers
An ALR suspension is 90 days for the first offense, and one year if you have prior DWI’s. The suspension period is longer for refusing to take a test versus failing one by blowing over the legal limit. Holding on to your driving privilege is important, and avoiding a criminal conviction is even more valuable, but both results begin with the ALR hearing. Make sure you are represented by experienced criminal defense attorneys who understand the law and procedures, and the importance, of ALR hearings. In Houston, contact McLemore, Reddell & Story, P.L.L.C. for assistance.