An ALR Hearing in the State of Texas is an administrative hearing where a judge will listen to the evidence and make a decision regarding whether or not your license should be revoked. These hearings are civil proceedings and not criminal.
Most people in Texas do not realize that by refusing to participate in a breath or blood alcohol test when stopped for suspicion of DWI or DUI, the Department of Safety (DPS) can revoke your driving privileges automatically. Refusal to take these tests when arrested for DWI will typically have you facing two separate cases.
Your first case will be in regards to the DWI charges the State files against you, and the second case is brought in front of the ALR (Administrative License Revocation).
What You Can Expect at an ALR Hearing
The State is going to present evidence at your ALR hearing that will attempt to have your driving privileges revoked. You and your attorney from Fort Worth DUI Defense will also be able to present evidence in your defense against this revocation.
The law judge presiding over the hearing will consider all evidence presented and make their decision based on this evidence whether or not to uphold the revocation of your driving license. The decision reached at this hearing, if unfavorable, can be appealed.
Once you have been arrested for DWI, you must obtain the legal representation of Fort Worth DUI Defense Lawyer. You have only fifteen days in which to schedule your ALR hearing. This hearing is separate from your criminal DWI case, and even if your DWI charges are dismissed, you could still have your license suspended if you do not challenge the suspension at an ALR hearing.
How Can You Win at the ALR Hearing?
At the ALR Hearing, the burden of proof is up to the State to show. With the experienced help of your Fort Worth DUI Defense Lawyer, that proof can be undermined, attacked, and defended. Your attorney may be able to show the arresting officer did not have reasonable cause to stop you or probable cause to arrest you. These are two critical defenses against the State's evidence that may allow you to win at the ALR Hearing.
The Purpose of the ALR Hearing
The ALR Hearing is based on the failing of your blood or breath test. It can also be the result of you refusing to take the blood or breath test when arrested for suspicion of DWI. There is a fifteen-day window in which you and your attorney can request the ALR Hearing after your arrest. Often by appearing at these proceedings, you will be able to retain your driving license. If you miss the fifteen-day deadline, your license goes into automatic suspension. The process for an ALR Hearing consists of:
- When a law official has reasonable cause to believe that you are DWI (driving while intoxicated) or BWI (boating while intoxicated), they can stop you and request a set of field sobriety tests to determine your impairment level. If arrested for either of these charges, you will then be asked to perform a blood or breath test to check alcohol levels in your bloodstream.
- If you refuse or fail the blood or breath test, your driving license will be taken, and the officer will issue you a suspension notice along with a temporary driving permit. You then have fifteen days to request the ALR Hearing to contest the suspension.
- If you fail to request the ALR Hearing, the suspension of your driving privileges goes into effect on the 40th day after your arrest.
- If you have agreed to the breath or blood testing of your alcohol levels, you are allowed to retain your driver's license until the results of the test are returned. If the test comes back showing you were above the legal limits, your license will then be suspended. In this case, you are mailed a temporary driving permit along with a notice of suspension of your driving privileges. You will be given fifteen days from this notice to schedule your ALR Hearing. If you do not request the ALR Hearing, the suspension is activated on the 40th day from when the notice was received.
- In addition to paying any outstanding fees involved with your arrest, there is an additional reinstatement fee for having your license renewed after such a suspension.
When you and your attorney request the ALR Hearing, you are forcing the DPS (Department of Public Safety) into proving a case against you. It is up to this department to confirm the arresting police officer who stopped and arrested you had a reasonable suspicion to act. If this factor cannot be proved, you will have won your case by default. The DPS needs to show:
- There was reasonable suspicion for stopping and arresting you for DWI
- Probable cause existed and was displayed that you were operating a vehicle while being intoxicated
- At the time of your arrest, you were asked to perform a blood or breath test
- At the time you were requested to complete a blood or breath test, you refused
- If you performed the testing, the DPS must prove your BAC levels were .08% or higher when you were operating a non-commercial vehicle
- If you completed the testing, the DPS must prove your BAC levels were .04% or higher while operating a commercial vehicle
What Happens When You Fail an ALR Hearing?
If the proceedings at the ALR Hearing do not go in your favor, you will be facing a suspension of your driving privileges. The suspension periods are determined for those 21 years or older as:
- Refusing to provide a breath or blood sample following your arrest for a DWI or BWI offense-
- First offense is a suspension of driving privileges for 180 days
- Second or subsequent offense is a suspension of driver’s license for two years
- Failing the breath or blood test with a BAC of .08 or higher after either a BWI or DWI arrest-
- First offense is a suspension of driver's license for 90 days
- Second or subsequent offense is a suspension of driver's license for one year
If you are under the age of 21 and considered a legal minor, the suspension periods are determined as:
- Refusing to provide a breath or blood sample after you have been arrested for either a DWI or BWI
- First offense is the suspension of driving license for 180 days
- Second or subsequent offense is a suspension of driver's license for two years
- Failing the breath or blood test or if there is any detectable trace of alcohol found when arrested as a minor for DWI or BWI
- First offense will suspend your driving privileges for 60 days
- Prior offense on your record will suspend your driver's license for 120 days
- More than two test failures or refusals on your record will suspend your driving privileges for 180 days
If the law official arresting you for DWI or BWI did not request a breath or blood test because they were able to detect the presence of alcohol by other means while you were operating a vehicle:
- First offense will suspend your driver’s license for 60 days
- Prior offense on your record of this incident will suspend your driving privileges for 120 days
- Two or more suspensions on your record for either failing or refusing the testing will suspend your driver’s license for 180 days
There are separate suspension periods for those arrested for DWI while holding a commercial learner's permit, a commercial driver’s license, or who are found operating a commercial vehicle at the time of their DWI arrest:
- Refusing to provide a breath or blood sample when arrested for DWI while operating a commercial vehicle
- First offense will suspend your commercial driver’s license for one year
- If it is your first offense, but you're transporting hazardous materials, your driver’s license will be suspended for three years
- If you have any previous convictions on your record for any violation, your commercial driver’s license is permanently revoked. This revocation is lifetime under Texas Penal Code Section 522.081(d)
- Failing the breath or blood test when arrested for DUI while operating a commercial vehicle. Failure of the BAC test is .04% for any commercial vehicle driver
- First offense will suspend your driver’s license for one year
- If it is your first offense, but you're transporting hazardous materials, the suspension will be three years
- If you have any previous conviction on your record for any type of violation, your license will be permanently revoked. The revocation is found under Texas Penal Code 522.081(d)
Failure of the ALR Hearing for either refusal of the testing or failing of the testing has you looking at losing your driving privileges. You do have one option at this point, and it is to petition the court for an Occupational Driver's License (ODL).
Occupational Driver’s License Option after ALR Hearing Failure
An Occupational Driver’s License in Texas is also known as an ‘essential needs’ license. This license is a type of Texan driver’s license, which allows you to drive with certain restrictions. The restrictions are written on each order when the Occupation Driver’s License is granted. The restrictions are created by Texas law, but some judges may attach additional rules.
If a judge signs a paper granting an order for your Occupational Driver’s License, it will serve as your temporary privilege to drive for forty-five days. The order will also require the DPS (Department of Safety) to issue you a permanent Occupational Driver’s License. Once you receive the order from the judge, it is your responsibility to send the necessary paperwork to the DPS along with your occupational license fee.
There are a number of requirements necessary to qualify for an Occupational Driver's License. If the suspension is not related to a DWI conviction, you will be required to show an 'essential need' to drive. You must have an important reason to drive, such as having to get back and forth to work, to medical appointments, or to perform other essential household duties.
If you are applying for an Occupational Driver’s License after a DWI conviction, you can only obtain one if:
- Your license was automatically suspended as a result of Texas Transportation Code Chapter 521 for a conviction under Texas Law
- You have not been issued more than one occupational license within the past ten years after a conviction under Texas law
If an Occupational Driver’s License is issued after a DWI conviction, you will be required to install an interlock device on your vehicle and provide proof to the court of the installation.
You are not allowed to get an Occupational Driver’s License for a commercial driver’s license in the State of Texas. If you are facing the loss of your commercial license, this is a life-altering challenge, and you will need experienced legal representation to fight this loss. If you are dependant on driving a commercial vehicle to make an income, you will want the best legal defense possible to ensure you retain your right to drive. Fort Worth DUI Defense Lawyer is ready to help you defend these rights.
Having an experienced lawyer working with you to petition for an Occupational Driver's License can prove extremely beneficial. They are able to draft your petition for the license and take into account any exceptional circumstances that could apply to your case. If you should be required to appear before the judge, your lawyer can either accompany you or appear on your behalf before the judge.
In order to obtain an Occupational Driver's License, you will need to file:
- The petition for the license
- An order the judge has issued granting you the license
- Your driving record history
- Proof of insurance
- An affidavit of verification
A lawyer familiar and experienced in handling DUI or DWI cases in Texas will be able to help you with filing this information. Fort Worth DUI Defense Lawyer may also have to file a cover sheet, a civil case filing sheet, and proof of the installation of your interlock installation. When you have the right legal representation, you ensure all the necessary paperwork is filed with the appropriate offices.
How to Appeal the ALR Hearing Denial
If you have had an ALR Hearing and it resulted in the suspension of your driver’s license, it is your right to appeal.
Appealing the decision of the judge in your ALR Hearing requires a petition to be filed within thirty days of the decision. A District or County court must stamp the petition within those thirty days. You will then be required to send the stamped petition, which has been signed by the clerk of the court where the petition was filed by certified mail to the DPS. It is highly suggested that overnight mail services send this petition to the physical address of the DPS.
If the appeal request is not received within the thirty-day limit, which is thirty days from the date of your ALR Hearing, your suspension will not be lifted. It will also not be lifted if you do not provide the required information with your petition. Having legal representation for this appeal will ensure you are sending the proper information and within the appropriate time limits.
If the Appellate Court approves your appeal, the DPS will temporarily lift the suspension of your driver’s license. This suspension is only good for ninety days. If they are not able to reach a decision within ninety days on your case, the DPS will reapply the suspension for another ninety days. The DPS will send you a letter to notify you of the decision and whether or not the enforcement action has been lifted.
When the Appellate Court reaches a decision to reverse the ALR judge's decision, you must mail a file-stamped copy of the decision to the DPS. The suspension will be lifted once the DPS verifies the judgment. Once the suspension is lifted, your driver eligibility status is changed to 'eligible.'
If the Appellate Court decides not to reverse the decision of the ALR Hearing, you will receive a new letter of suspension by mail.
Why You Need Legal Representation for an ALR Hearing
For most of us, life revolves around being able to drive. You need to drive to work, get household supplies, transport kids to school and activities, and to enjoy a lot of life's entertainment. If convicted of DWI, you could lose your driving abilities for months or even years.
You need the legal representation of Fort Worth DUI Defense Lawyer to protect your way of life. We can also help to file an ALR Hearing to put your best self forward and avoid this disruption to your way of life. We can schedule a hearing and prepare the evidence necessary while you focus on other issues occurring in your life.
At the time of your arrest, you should have been issued a DPS form, which is yellow. This form is a notice that your driving privileges are going to be suspended, and also serves as a temporary driving permit. This permit is only valid for fourteen days and provides you with critical information pertaining to an ALR Hearing. Being arrested for DWI is a devastating process, and most people are too overwhelmed to understand all the consequences they are facing. Having Fort Worth DUI Defense Lawyer working with you from the beginning will ensure you do not miss important deadlines, such as your ALR Hearing.
The ALR Hearing is as vital to your future as the DWI process, but often becomes overshadowed due to the traumatic events of being arrested. Your lawyer understands the emotional upheaval this process causes. We will be sure to file all necessary paperwork involved in protecting your record against these charges, as well as protecting your right to drive.
An arrest for DWI involves two separate processes. The criminal aspect of this charge will include your arraignment, a preliminary hearing, and, if necessary, you could be facing a trial. This process is extremely overwhelming, and people often forget there is a second process that needs addressing.
The second process is an administrative process, which is entirely separate from the criminal proceedings of your case. An ALR Hearing is required to address your right to drive in the State and must be requested within fifteen days of your arrest. You will want experienced legal counsel working with you to ensure you are aware and remain aware of all legal requirements attached to this arrest.
The TxDPS you received at your arrest provides the information needed to request an ALR Hearing. Fort Worth DUI Defense Lawyer will also be able to assist you with this request. We will ensure your request for a hearing is received as they can argue it was not delivered within fifteen days and therefore deny your request. There are also times they report you made mistakes in your application and then deny your request. We are familiar with the filing and process of an ALR Hearing and will ensure your request is received correctly and on time.
You will be asked to allow up to 120 days for a response to your request for a hearing. During the ALR Hearing process, you will benefit from legal representation in a number of ways:
- There is a follow-up to ensure TxDPS received your request and scheduled your hearing
- During the hearing, the same rules of evidence and legal procedure will apply as with a criminal proceeding. Your lawyer will prepare you for this hearing and make sure you do not incriminate yourself during the process
- Your lawyer will work hard to disprove the TxDPS case, including questioning officers to gain an insight into any mistakes that could have been made during your arrest. Refuting their evidence will remove the suspension of your driving privileges.
Find a Fort Worth DWI Lawyer Near Me
If you are facing the legal challenges of a DWI and are in need of help scheduling an ALR Hearing, call Fort Worth DUI Defense Lawyer today at 817-470-2128. You are facing serious time restrictions on filing your request for this hearing. Don't delay - call our offices as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of losing your driving privileges.