Defending Your Driving Privileges With An ALR Hearing

Anyone who has been arrested for DWI and either refused to provide a specimen of their breath, blood or urine upon a request from law enforcement or provided a specimen showing a blood alcohol content above .08 can have their driving privileges suspended by DPS. In order to prevent such a suspension from automatically going into effect 40 days after the arrest, a driver must request an Administrative License Review (ALR) hearing. Although this request doesn't have to be through an attorney, it is normally wise to go ahead and make the request through an experienced ALR attorney in order to protect your rights, as the request will need to be done a certain way in order to properly invoke this right.

While the ALR process is triggered by the same DWI arrest that will wind up in criminal court, it is a separate process with different potential consequences as well as a different set of facts the government will be charged with proving in order to be authorized to suspend your driver's license. In order for DPS to prevail in an ALR hearing, they need only prove the following with a preponderance of the evidence:

  • that reasonable suspicion existed to stop your car or otherwise detain you
  • that the arrest was supported by probable cause
  • that you were properly informed of the consequences of either providing or refusing to provide a specimen by being read the statutory warnings
  • that you provided a specimen showing a BAC of .08 or above OR you refused to provide a specimen

If DPS does succeed in proving these things, then they will be authorized to suspend your license for either 90 days if you provided a specimen over the limit, or 180 if you refused to do so. These suspension periods can be increased to 1 and 2 years respectively if you've had a prior alcohol or drug based interaction with law enforcement at any time in the previous 10 years (usually another DWI arrest). Unfortunately, it is incredibly difficult to win an ALR hearing if the arresting officer shows up to testify, as DPS has such a low evidentiary burden to meet.

Why It's Important To Request A Hearing

Considering the difficulty of prevailing at an ALR hearing, it's fair to wonder why one should even bother to request one. The answer to this is two-fold. One reason is simple enough, and that is that if the arresting officer is properly issued a subpoena from the defendant to come and testify at the hearing and subsequently fails to show up, the defendant wins and no license suspension can be handed down. This scenario actually plays out more frequently than one might think, and is therefore more than worth the effort. The other reason why it's a very good idea to request such a hearing is that if the officer does show up, it provides a savvy criminal defense lawyer an excellent opportunity to not only get a preview of what the officer's testimony might be at a later criminal trial, but also to potentially nail down some particularly beneficial testimony from an officer who isn't fully prepared to answer more difficult questions about the incident. For both of those reasons, it's a good idea to hire an experienced DWI defense lawyer early in the process in order to make sure the ALR hearing request is made.

Contact My Office Immediately To Schedule A Consultation

You deserve an honest look at your case. I offer truthful feedback regarding the circumstances of your arrest and if you are eligible for an ALR hearing. Contact The Law Offices of David C. Hardaway today to schedule a personal consultation in San Marcos by calling 512-212-1706, or fill out the confidential online contact form.