DWI Driver’s License Suspension

DWI Driver’s License Suspension

You only have 15 days to save Driver’s License. If you’ve been arrested for DWI, the officer very likely confiscated your Texas Driver’s License. Go get a new one immediately. Your driving privileges are not suspended. Your driving privileges may eventually be revoked, but it does not happen instantly when you are arrested for DWI.

If you do nothing, your license will be suspended on the 40th day after your arrest. You’ll receive a letter from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) outlining the suspension dates.

If you act quickly, you can contest the suspension.

You have 15 days from the date of arrest to request an administrative hearing on the revocation of your license. These Administrative License Revocation Hearings are commonly referred to as ALR’s.

Administrative License Revocation Hearing (ALR)

The ALR hearing and the procedures surrounding it are outlined in case law, the Texas Transportation Code, Texas Administrative Code, and the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) procedural rules.

The ALR hearing does not take place at the courthouse. It isn’t presided over by an elected judge. It is simply an administrative hearing, the purpose of which is not to convict you for the underlying offense.

Your chances of victory in an ALR hearing are slim. This is because the State has a very low burden in administrative hearings.

You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by doing it.

Prevailing at the ALR hearing means you will not incur a license suspension. That saves you time and money. Additionally, even if you don’t win, your attorney can still pin the officer down to a specific story through testimony. If the officer contradicts this testimony at another hearing or at trial, it will weaken the State’s case.

Having a driver’s license is a privilege, not a right. Because Texas is an implied consent state, when you receive your driver’s license you essentially enter into an agreement with DPS to provide a specimen of breath or blood when requested.

Because the burden is so low, and because of the implied consent laws, all the State really needs to prove at an ALR in order to prevail is that you refused when asked.

If you lose the ALR hearing you can pursue an Occupational Driver’s License that will allow you to drive legally, while your regular driver’s license is suspended.
Here are the respective suspension periods:

Minor (under 21) 60 Days
Failed Test 90 Days
Refused 180 Days
DWI 2nd 1-2 Years
Felony 2 Years

Can I get an Occupational Driver’s License?

An Occupational Driver’s License (ODL) authorizes someone with a suspended or revoked license to operate non-commercial vehicles for the purposes of attending school, work, church, life errands, etc.

If you hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) you are not eligible for an ODL.

Section 521 of the Texas Transportation Code states that in order to receive an ODL, a person must demonstrate an “essential need”. It defines an essential need as:

To perform their occupation or job
For transportation to and from the workplace,
For transportation to and from school, or
In the performance of an essential household duty
An ODL will be effective until the end of the driver’s license suspension period.

What is the waiting period for an ODL?

  • Immediately – if you’ve had no previous license suspensions for alcohol-related incidents in the past 5 years
  • 90 Days – if you have had a license suspension in the past 5 years for an alcohol-related incident.
  • 6 Months – if you’ve been convicted of a DWI in the past 5 years.
  • 1 Year – if you have been convicted of two or more DWIs in the past 5 years.

What is the ODL waiting period for someone under 21?

According to Section 524 of the Texas Transportation Code, a minor under the age of 21 must wait the following periods before they are eligible for an ODL:

  • 30 days – if no previous alcohol-related suspensions
  • 90 days – after the administrative license has been in effect if one prior alcohol-related conviction
  • If a minor has had two or more driver’s license suspensions, they are not eligible for an ODL

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