What is an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) in Texas?
What is an Administrative License Revocation (ALR)?
An Administrative License Revocation or ALR is an administrative process by which an individual who is arrested for driving while intoxicated or another intoxication-related offense seeks to prevent his or her driver’s license from being suspended. A suspension can occur from either a refusal to submit to a blood or breath test or by providing a specimen that results in a 0.08 or greater blood alcohol concentration.
Can DPS force me to give a breath or blood specimen?
Texas is an “implied consent” state. Implied consent means that every person who has received a driver’s license accepted it on the condition that if law enforcement ever requests a sample of your breath or blood, then you must comply. While consent is implied, the officer cannot force a person to give a breath sample and must seek a warrant to obtain blood without consent. Texas law provides that if a driver refuses to submit to testing, the driver risks automatic license suspension. If an officer has probable cause to arrest you for driving while intoxicated or boating while intoxicated, the officer will read you a DIC-24 statutory warning asking you for a sample of your breath or blood. Your license will be suspended if you fail the test or if you refuse to give a sample.
Administrative License Suspension Periods
If your license has been suspended because of a DWI arrest, you only have 15 days to request a hearing contesting the license suspension.
Your license may be suspended if you refuse to provide a specimen of your breath or blood for a period of 180 days, even if you are completely innocent of driving while intoxicated.
If you provide a specimen above the legal limit of .08, your license will be suspended for no less than 90 days. The license suspension varies depending on if you are a minor or if you have a commercial driver license.
Administrative License Revocation Hearings (ALR)
If your license is suspended, it is critical that you contact a defense attorney that regularly handles administrative license revocations. First and foremost, DPS has the upper hand in these cases. They have a low burden of proof and without intervention they can enter their evidence without a sponsoring witness, meaning DPS could simply enter the offense report into evidence, rest and win. In fact, here is breakdown of how many ALR hearings DPS won in Texas in 2015:
|# of Hearings DPS Won||# of Hearings DPS Lost||Total Number of Hearings||DPS Win %|
*Data compiled by the State Office of Administrative Hearings
What is the Process for an Administrative License Revocation?
If a driver refused to take or failed a blood or breath test and his license was subsequently suspended by DPS, the individual will receive a “Notice of Suspension.” This notice, also known as a DIC 25, acts as a temporary driving permit while the driver decides whether or not to challenge the suspension.
The driver has 15 days from the date of the suspension notice to request a hearing. If a hearing is not requested within 15 days, the suspension goes into effect on the 40th day after the notice was served.
If a hearing is requested within 15 days, DPS will send a letter notifying the driver of the date, time, and location of the hearing. It can take up to 120 days for DPS to schedule a hearing. The temporary permit is valid up until an ALR hearing has been held and the judge has ruled.
License Suspension for Failing a Breath or Blood Test
Transportation Code 524.022 sets out the length of suspensions in cases where the individual failed the breath or blood test:
Sec. 524.022. PERIOD OF SUSPENSION. (a) A period of suspension under this chapter for an adult is:
(1) 90 days if the person’s driving record shows no alcohol-related or drug-related enforcement contact during the 10 years preceding the date of the person’s arrest; or
(2) one year if the person’s driving record shows one or more alcohol-related or drug-related enforcement contacts during the 10 years preceding the date of the person’s arrest.
License Suspension for Refusing a Breath or Blood Test
Transportation Code Section 724.035 sets out the suspension period for refusal cases.
Sec. 724.035. SUSPENSION OR DENIAL OF LICENSE. (a) If a person refuses the request of a peace officer to submit to the taking of a specimen, the department shall:
(1) suspend the person’s license to operate a motor vehicle on a public highway for 180 days; or
(2) if the person is a resident without a license, issue an order denying the issuance of a license to the person for 180 days.
(b) The period of suspension or denial is two years if the person’s driving record shows one or more alcohol-related or drug-related enforcement contacts, as defined by Section 524.001(3), during the 10 years preceding the date of the person’s arrest.
What is an Administrative License Revocation Hearing?
An ALR hearing is a hearing that is held in the presence of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who listens to the evidence in the case. DPS has the burden of proof in an ALR hearing. The driver can attack DPS’s case by presenting any legal issues that may exist. Unlike the criminal case, which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the burden of proof in an ALR hearing is only preponderance of evidence.
After the hearing, the ALJ will issue a final, appealable decision and order. If the judge finds that DPS has proven its case, the judge will authorize the suspension of the individual’s driver’s license. On the other hand, if the judge finds that DPS has not proven its case, the individual’s driver’s license will not be suspended.
How long does it take to get an ALR hearing?
Once your attorney requests the ALR hearing, it can take two weeks to 120 days for DPS to schedule a hearing date. Your attorney will be notified of this date, which is typically a few weeks to a month from the date of the notice.
What must DPS prove?
In order to successfully suspend someone’s license, DPS must prove several elements by a preponderance of the evidence at the hearing.
- DPS must prove that the arresting officer had reasonable suspicion to stop you. Reasonable suspicion is a low standard that means the officer had reasonable, articulable facts to believe criminal activity had occurred or was likely to occur.
- Then, DPS must prove that the officer had probable cause to arrest you. Probable cause means more likely than not an offense has been committed. An example of probable cause would be failed field sobriety test(s), or admitting to drinking alcohol.
- Finally, DPS must prove that the driver either took a breath or blood test and had a blood alcohol concentration of over .08 or the driver refused to take a breath or blood test.
Understand that preponderance of the evidence is a very low standard so DPS often wins these hearings. In fact, in north Texas, DPS wins these hearings over 95% of the time. So why would anyone request an ALR hearing?
Why ALR Hearings are Beneficial
- Your license suspension does not go into effect until the ALR hearing decision is rendered. Therefore, instead of having 40 days to drive on the temporary license, you may have several months where you are driving without restriction.
- Most experienced attorneys will have a petition for occupational license prepared so that you can obtain an Occupational License as soon as possible if the ALR decision is rendered against you.
- Your attorney will likely subpoena the arresting officer to show up at the hearing.
- Your attorney can obtain any non-privileged discovery, such as the offense reports prior to the hearing.
- Your attorney will be able to cross-examine the officer shows up that the ALR hearings. This provides us with a discovery opportunity to question the officer who arrested you. There are a number of advantages to doing this. Chief among them is the fact that we are able to cross-examine officers without the presence of a criminal prosecutor to redirect them or prepare them.
ALR Hearings and License Suspensions
Because of the complexities involved in administrative license revocations and license suspensions, it is always better to hire an attorney to handle these issues for you. Your attorney will request the hearing, subpoena arresting officer(s), prepare your defense, and argue your case for you.
How do I get my license back after the suspension period in Texas?
After the suspension period is over, you may contact your local DPS office to have your license reinstated. You will be responsible for paying a reinstatement fee, which is typically $125. Your attorney will be able to confirm your eligibility for reinstatement before you go in by logging into the DPS website.
Can an ALR decision be appealed?
Yes. You will be forced to pay a fee to appeal the underlying decision, but you may appeal the ALR decision. This also grants you more time to drive on your license without the suspension going into effect.
If your license has been suspended and you want to challenge the suspension, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Our attorneys are available 24/7 at (817) 203-2220. Our attorneys can also talk to you about an Occupational License, which would let you drive legally even if your license is suspended. Call today for a complimentary strategy session. During this call we will:
- Discuss the facts of your case;
- Discuss the legal issues involved, including the direct and collateral consequences of the allegation; and
- Discuss the defenses that apply to your plan and in general terms discuss our approach to your case.
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