Texas DWI Criminal Defense
A Summary of Texas Administrative License Suspension
(DWI and "Administrative License Revocation")
Many Texas drivers who are arrested for driving while intoxicated do not
realize that a DWI arrest creates two cases.
Specifically, a DWI arrest results in both a criminal charge, and can also
initiates a civil proceeding against the arrested motorists driving privileges
called an Administrative License Revocation, or ALR.
An ALR suspension is initiated against an arrested driver when he either refuses
to submit to breath or blood testing, or alternatively, fails a breath or blood
test. The legal authority to impose an ALR suspension against a driver lies in
the Texas implied consent statute.
This law states that each person who operates a motor vehicle on Texas roadways
has given his implied consent to provide a specimen of breath or blood if
arrested for DWI and provided with the applicable consequences of refusing to
submit to testing (Texas Transportation Code ß724).
The implied consent statute also applies to operators of watercraft in Texas. In
Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) cases, a drivers license may be suspended for
refusing - but not for failing - to submit to the taking of a specimen a breath
or blood test if a person is arrested for an offense involving the operation of
a watercraft powered with an engine having a manufacturer's rating of 50
horsepower or above.
Further, in all intoxication-related offenses, Texas courts have decided that an
individual does not have the right to consult with an attorney before making the
decision to refuse or provide a requested specimen. Indeed, in cases where an
accident which produced serious life-threatening injury or the possibility of
death has occurred, a citizen can be forced to provide a sample of blood.
Notice of ALR
Many police officers, after arresting a citizen, will tell the arrested driver
that if he does not agree to take a breath or blood test that his license will
be automatically and immediately suspended.
This is incorrect. When making an arrest for DWI, peace officers are required to
take possession of any Texas license issued by this state and held by the person
arrested and issue the person a temporary driving permit that expires on the
41st day after the date of issuance. Further, a request for a hearing to
challenge the proposed suspension will delay any ALR sanctions until a hearing
WARNING !!! An ALR suspension is AUTOMATIC...UNLESS you request a hearing to
challenge the suspension, in writing, WITHIN FIFTEEN (15) DAYS after receiving
notice of suspension from the arresting agency on a Department of Public Safety
approved form (generally received on the day of arrest).
If a hearing is not timely requested, the suspension will automatically begin on
the forty-first (41st) day after notice was received. If a hearing is requested,
no action will be taken regarding suspension until after the hearing has taken
place, even if the hearing takes place more than forty days after the arrest.
Further, in the event of an ALR appeal, the suspension can be delayed for an
additional 90 days. (Call our office immediately for assistance if you think
your license is at risk- (512) 469-6056).
The ALR Hearing
The burden of proof at an ALR hearing is on the Department of Public Safety.
Once a driver or his attorney has made a timely request for an ALR hearing, no
suspension may be imposed against the driver until the Department of Public
Safety proves the following elements by a preponderance of the evidence at the
That there was reasonable suspicion to stop or probable cause to arrest the
That probable cause existed that the driver was driving or in actual physical
control of a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated.
That the driver was placed under arrest and was offered an opportunity to give a
specimen of breath or blood after being notified both orally and in writing of
the consequences of either refusing or failing a breath or blood test, AND That
the driver refused to give a specimen on request of the officer, OR, that the
driver failed a breath or blood test by registering an alcohol concentration of
.08 or greater per 100ml of blood or 210 liters of breath.
NOTE: If the person who refuses is a resident without a license, an order will
be issued denying the issuance of a license to the person for 180 days.
NOTE: the term "prior alcohol or drug contact" as used to lengthen the period of
suspensions stated above has been defined as a driver's license suspension,
disqualification, or prohibition order under the laws of this state or any other
state resulting from a conviction for driving while intoxicated, or refusal to
provide a requested specimen, or providing a specimen showing an alcohol
concentration of a level specified in ß49.01 Texas Penal Code (an alcohol
concentration of 0.08 or greater).
Drivers License After Suspension
If no suspension is imposed at the hearing, DPS is obligated to return the Texas
license to the person arrested. If a suspension is ordered either automatically
or after hearing, a driver must submit a reinstatement fee of $125.00 to TDPS
before the license will be reinstated. I advise my clients to send their fee to
TDPS as soon as they learn that a suspension has been ordered. Again, because of
the huge bureaucracy that has been created under the new law, waiting until the
60th or 90th day to submit your reinstatement fee will prolong reinstatement of
your license until the fee has been both received and entered on the TDPS
There is a special TDPS form that must be submitted to reinstate your driving
privileges. This form together with the reinstatement fee must be paid by money
order, cashier's check or personal check and sent by certified mail, return
receipt requested for proper documentation of payment and receipt to:
Driver Improvement and Control Texas Department of Public Safety P.O. Box 15999
Austin, Texas 78761-5999
One Final Note
In addition to protecting your driving privileges, there is an equally important
reason to request an ALR hearing, and that is to better defend you against the
Unfortunately, most drivers, and many lawyers who are unfamiliar with DWI
defense, do not realize the "discovery" importance of an ALR proceeding. In
fact, the importance of having a hearing to challenge your ALR case is twofold.
First, with the assistance of a knowledgeable and skilled defense attorney, many
drivers are able to avoid a suspension of their driving privileges. Second, by
challenging your license suspension, you are providing your attorney with an
opportunity to use the ALR hearing to learn more about how to best defend your
In this regard, the "discovery" information obtained through the ALR process can
be invaluable to your defense, and is often the deciding factor in determining
whether the related DWI charges can be successfully defended against.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney - Austin Texas
Please call and schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience, because I can help you through the unfamiliar territory
of the criminal justice system. Because each case is different and special, I offer a free initial consultation where you and I can sit
down and discuss the charges against you and what options are available to you. To assist you financially in paying any attorney
fees, I offer flat rate fees and flexible payment plans that will allow you to hire me as your criminal defense attorney so that I can
start immediately to protect your rights.
Criminal Defense Trial Attorney
812 San Antonio St., Suite 100
Austin, TX 78701
Call Toll Free - 866) 469-6056
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Ken Gibson criminal defense trial attorney in Austin, Texas
handling Drunk Driving (DWI) and Driving Under The Influence (DUI) in the state of Texas. Travis County, Williamson County, Hays County and Bastrop
County. Austin, Georgetown, Manor, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Del Valle, Cedar Park, San Marcos, Bastrop.
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