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What You Should Know About the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program in Texas

Published: Sep 05, 2017 in Criminal Defense, DUI

If you were pulled over and arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), you may be in for a rude awakening. You could be punished before charges are brought against you, or even before being found guilty in a court of law. If you are arrested for DWI and refuse a blood or breath test, a police officer may take your driver’s license, give you a temporary license, and give you notice of an administrative license revocation (ALR). This is an automatic license suspension program that can lead to the loss of your driving privileges before you ever step foot into a courtroom for a DWI charge.

While the law regarding ALRs is relatively strict, there are ways to defend against it and retain some or all of your driving privileges. Contact an experienced Houston DWI defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your rights and legal options.

What You Should Know About Texas’ ALR Program

If you were arrested for a DWI, there is a lot to learn about Texas’ ALR program, including:

  • Your license will be suspended if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above .08 percent. If you are arrested and submit to a BAC test that comes back with a BAC at or above .08 percent, you will lose your driver’s license for anywhere between 90 days and two years. With a BAC above the legal limit at the time of your arrest, the state assumes you are guilty of a DWI and begins your civil punishment immediately.
  • Your license will be suspended if you refuse to submit to a BAC test upon arrest. There is also a second way to suffer from an ALR. If you refuse to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test after a DWI arrest, the state takes your license away for at least 90 days, and for up to two years. Under Texas law, you impliedly consent to perform a BAC test upon a valid drunk driving arrest. Failing to adhere to this law can lead to civil and criminal consequences.
  • A police officer will confiscate your driver’s license. If you are getting an ALR, a police officer will physically take your driver’s license away and give you a piece of paper for a temporary license. You should also receive a piece of paper that provides you notice of the ALR.
  • It is a civil, not criminal punishment. It is essential to understand an ALR is a civil punishment, not criminal. It is not a sentence you receive upon a conviction. Instead, it is an automatic sanction you receive after the police find you performed certain actions. You will not fight the ALR in court like you will for your DWI charges. Instead, you contest it with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
  • You have 40 days after receiving notice until the suspension starts. If you do not appeal the ALR, the suspension automatically starts 40 days after you receive notice, which is usually the day of your arrest. Once the 40th day hits, you can no longer drive.
  • You have the right to appeal. You do not have to simply accept an ALR. You have the right to request an administrative hearing on this punishment.
  • You only have 15 days to ask for an appeal hearing. While you get to appeal an ALR, you must begin this process right away. You only have 15 days after you receive notice to request a hearing. That is why it is essential to call a DWI defense lawyer immediately after an arrest. If you do not get your request in on time, your license will be suspended and you will have to find another means of getting around.
  • You will receive a letter for when your hearing is scheduled. Once you properly request an administrative hearing to contest the ALR, you will receive a letter to your address on record. It will provide the date, time, and location of the hearing, which could be up to 120 days later.
  • Hearings are administrative, not in court. The hearing is not in a criminal courtroom. Instead, it is conducted by the State Office of Administrative Hearings and presided over by an administrative law judge (ALJ). Like a criminal hearing though, you can be represented by an attorney, and evidence can be presented by both you and the state. If you and your attorney provide enough evidence to show that the ALR or the corresponding arrest was not lawful, then your license will not be suspended.
  • You can ask for an occupational license. You have another option during the administrative hearing. In addition to fighting against the suspension, you can ask for an occupational license, which provides you with limited driving privileges to get to and from work, school, or other essential driving.
  • You can appeal the decision of the ALJ. The administrative hearing is not the end of the road. If your license is suspended by the ALJ, you can appeal this decision.

Contact a Houston DWI Defense Lawyer for Help

If you were arrested for a DWI and are facing an Administrative License Revocation, it is imperative to have experienced legal counsel on your side. Once you have a DWI defense lawyer on your side, you can ask for an appeal hearing and fight the automatic license suspension. Contact our experienced and proven defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767 to schedule your free, initial consultation.