One aspect of having a pending DWI charge that most people learn only after they have been accused, arrested, and released from jail, is that a license to operate a motor vehicle may be suspended automatically, unless a specific hearing request can be made to The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) within a small (and very rigorously) enforced 15-day window. It should be noted there are 2 different cases that arise from a charge of DWI, one is the criminal aspect usually presided over by District or County Courts at Law (unless the DWI was on federal property, or another instance where federal jurisdiction may be invoked). The civil proceeding is most commonly referred to as the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearing, whereas the criminal proceedings determine whether you ultimately will have a conviction for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Click HERE to learn about the ALR process.
If you do not request a hearing after a DWI arrest within 15 days to contest the allegations, either in-person or telephonically, your license to operate a motor vehicle will be automatically suspended. If you do not contest the license suspension by requesting an ALR hearing within the requisite time period, then your license will automatically be suspended 40 days following the arrest (the length of time will vary on a case by case basis). This is listed in what is referred to as the "DIC-25" Temporary Driving Permit/Notice of Suspension. The length of time varies according to certain factors of the case, mainly including elements such as whether the accused has been arrested for a DWI previously, and/or whether there was a breath and/or blood test obtained, including if there was a chemical test obtained (and whether or not it was deemed to be a refusal), and also based on if there has been any prior law enforcement contact related to an intoxication-related criminal offense previously.
Regardless, you need an experienced and aggressive attorney to help you get through any possible license suspensions. Sometimes it’s possible to prevent a suspension and simply have your license reinstated. Carl has focused on DWI Defense his entire career, and has the skills and expertise necessary to help protect your privilege to drive. If you choose to work with Carl, he will work diligently to help preserve your rights throughout the entire process. Protecting your ability to drive is just one of the critical aspects of DWI Defense that is obviously an incredibly important component to your daily life while your case is pending.
***Again, please note that if you do not request an ALR hearing within 15 days of being arrested, your license will automatically be suspended on the 41st day after your arrest. If your license is ultimately suspended, the exact length of suspension will depend on your prior history with DWI convictions (and/or ALR contact), as well as the results of any chemical tests conducted (and whether they were refused or obtained based on consent). The burden of proof at an ALR Hearing is always on DPS, where they will have to prove the requisite "reasonable suspicion" for the traffic stop (or any possible encounter with law enforcement in lieu of an actual stop). DPS must also prove that probable cause existed that justified an arrest for DWI. However, a very pertinent difference between the criminal portion (the actual charge of Driving While Intoxicated), and the civil proceeding (any possible license suspension), is that the the burden of proof is significantly lower at the ALR Hearing. In a criminal trial the State of Texas shoulders the highest burden of proof in our entire justice system, as they most prove that a person is "Guilty" of Driving While Intoxicated by "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt." Due to this lower burden of proof, it is very likely that your license could still be suspended, even if there were legitimate questions surrounding the legality of the stop and/or with the arrest. It should also be noted that an order granting a license suspended at an ALR Hearing means very little in context with the criminal case, and does not mean that following an ALR Hearing the criminal case involving the charge of DWI has any less merit. It does not mean that it has decreased the percentage change of prevailing with a good outcome later on, or that it will be any less successful if the case ultimately proceed to trial. It can, however, be a very useful discovery tool to gain more information for the criminal proceeding, in that it gives an Attorney the first opportunity to cross-examine the arresting officer about all facts leading up to, and relevant to the decision to arrest.
The penalties for license suspensions strictly related to charges of Driving While Intoxicated depends upon on your history with DWI (and related offenses), as well as relevant circumstances of the arrest, most commonly the issues of whether an individual refused to provide a chemical test, or whether consent was given to administer a chemical test, and it was deemed a failure.
1st Time DWI Arrest:
Breath or Blood Test Failure: If you submit to a chemical test but your BAC was .08 or higher, your license will be suspended for a period of 90 days.
Breath or Blood Test Refusal: If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, your license will be suspended for a period of 180 days.
DWI Subsequent Arrest:
If there are any alcohol or drug related offenses on an individual's record in the preceding 10 years, license suspension periods can be longer.
Breath Test Failure: If you submit to a chemical test and your BAC was .08 or higher, and this is at least your 2nd alcohol or drug related case within 10 years, your license will be suspended for a period of 1-year.
Breath Test Refusal: If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, and this is at least your 2nd alcohol or drug related case within 10 years, your license will be suspended for 2 years.
According to the Texas Transportation Code, Section 521.251, it is required in some cases that an individual must wait the following time periods before they can obtain an Occupational Driver's License. Certain intoxication-related criminal offenses can make an individual ineligible to receive an ODL under Texas Law, and other individuals who have are facing driver's license suspensions are required to wait certain time periods before they can receive an ODL:
1. An individual who has received an administrative driver's license suspension, and does not have any prior driver's license suspensions for alcohol-related contact with law enforcement within the preceding 5 years, can eligible to obtain and ODL immediately;
2. An individual who has received a driver's license suspension within the preceding 5 years for alcohol-related contact with law enforcement must wait 90 days after the effective date of the driver’s license suspension;
3. An individual who has been convicted of a DWI criminal offense within the preceding 5 years must wait 180 days after the effective date of the driver’s license suspension; and
4. An individual has been convicted of two or more DWI offenses within the preceding 5 years must wait 1-year after the effective date of the driver's license suspension.
Contact Us Now
Call Carl David Ceder at 214.702.CARL(2275) or at 469.2000.DWI(394) if you are facing any license suspension issues regarding your ability to drive (and regardless of whether it resulted from a DWI arrest or not). Contact The Law Offices of Carl David Ceder and let us help mount an effective defense in your DWI case, including doing everything possible to preserve your ability to drive. Call 214.702.CARL(2275) for an initial consultation and evaluation of your case.