Generally speaking, those who are arrested for DWI are equally as concerned about going to jail as they are about losing their driving privileges. Indeed, each DWI arrest has the potential for two separate license suspensions, one for being convicted criminally, and one for refusing or failing a breath or blood test (Administrative License Revocation or ALR proceeding).
As for the criminal charge, if the driver is convicted of DWI, depending on the severity of the offense, the license suspension can range from 90 days to two years, while the ALR can range from 90 to 180 days.
The most common reason citizens do not realize that the ALR exists against them is that they only learn about it when they are arrested. We understand that this is a stressful, confusing and nervous time for the citizen. Fortunately, in most cases, the officer provides a written statutory warning during the time of arrest that notifies the driver of the administrative action and of the fact that there are only 15 days to request an ALR hearing to try to prevent a suspension.
Can the Court Suspend Your License Before Trial?
The court cannot suspend your driver license before you’ve had your trial. However, it may if you’ve missed your ALR hearing. You have only 15 days to request your hearing. After 40 days, it will be suspended automatically.
If you lose the ALR hearing but win your DWI case, Texas law says that they must un-suspend your license. A good lawyer will tell you not to plea bargain. Push for a not guilty and a good lawyer who’s good with juries and judges and knows the law can help.
The ALR Hearing and What It Can Do.
Fortunately, from the defense perspective, this ALR can be a powerful defense tool in the right lawyer’s hands. It can often be used to change guilty evidence into not-guilty evidence! Here, the lesson to be remembered is that a hearing must be requested in a timely manner, or the weapon never materializes. Accordingly, if you are arrested for DWI, be sure to consult with a skilled DWI / ALR lawyer early (before 15 days have elapsed) so that this ALR advantage is not lost.
It’s often the case that the ALR advantage is the difference between a not-guilty verdict, which would prevent a license suspension, and a guilty verdict which can hold a severe penalty.