ALR Hearings, SOAH, License Suspensions

Texas Criminal Law

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If you are arrested for DWI in Texas, the state (through DPS) will attempt to revoke your Texas driver’s license or your “privilege to receive” a Texas driver’s license if you don’t have a Texas license. If your license is from outside of Texas, your home state may also suspend your license if your Texas privilege to receive a license is revoked. However, before the state can suspend your license, you are entitled to a hearing on the matter in which you can contest the suspension to a SOAH judge. This hearing is called an an Administrative License Revocation Hearing or “ALR Hearing.”

The process of Texas driver’s license suspension is not automatic, but only if you request it. Additionally, Texas imposes a strict 15-day deadline for you or your attorney to request an ALR Hearing.

In addition to potentially saving your license from suspension, this ALR Hearing is a crucial opportunity for your attorney to potentially improve the quality of your DWI Defense case. Do not miss this opportunity, and do not attempt to do this yourself. The process by which this may help your case is complicated, technical and unique to each DWI charge.

What is an ALR Hearing? How do I contest a license suspension?

If you were arrested for a DWI offense, chances are that you have received a notice that your license is subject to suspension because you either failed or refused to take a breath test or blood test. If you have received this notice, then you are entitled to have an ALR hearing to contest your license suspension. However, if you do not timely and properly request this hearing, then you will lose this valuable opportunity to contest your license suspension.

If your license is being threatened with suspension, we can represent you in the administrative license hearings (ALR hearings) that determine whether your license will be suspended. We represent all of our DWI clients in these ALR Hearings, and we can do this for you, too. If you call us soon after your DWI arrest, we can do everything for you, including requesting the hearing, subpoenaing the police officers who arrested you and representing you in person at hearing.

If you fail to timely or properly request a hearing, or if you have a hearing and the judge determines that you were above the legal limit at the time that you were driving, then your license will be suspended through the administrative SOAH court. If you license is suspended, you may be eligible to receive an Occupational Driver’s License (“ODL”).

Will you handle my ALR Hearing and License Suspension issues?

Yes, we handle ALR Hearings and license suspension issues for all of our DWI Defense clients. You will have an attorney prepare your ALR Hearing defense and attend the hearing for you. Typically we request the hearing, subpoena the arresting officer, obtain evidence, conduct an independent investigation, prepare a line of questioning and cross-examination of the arresting officer and argue your case in front of the SOAH judge.

What happens after the ALR Hearing is requested

If you or a DWI defense attorney successfully requests an ALR Hearing before the deadline expires, the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings (“SOAH”) will schedule a hearing in which you or your lawyer will be able to contest the license suspension in front of an administrative hearing officer. DPS will also have an opportunity to attend this hearing and will present evidence against you. It is not a good idea to attend this hearing without a lawyer.

Before the hearing date, there are several very important technical processes and deadlines that must be addressed and met in order to have a successful outcome in your ALR Hearing. See other DWI Defense strategy deadlines

What happens if my license Is suspended?

If your license is suspended because you lost an ALR hearing or because you failed to request one, you will probably want to petition the court to get an Occupational Driver’s License (ODL). An occupational license will allow to drive for your essential needs. We can help you obtain your Occupational Drivers License, and we do this for free for existing clients. Learn more about Occupational Drivers Licenses

Can I appeal an ALR Hearing decision by SOAH?

Yes, ALR Hearing decisions by SOAH may be appealed. There is a fee that varies by county that you will have to pay. It is usually around $250.

How long does it take to get an ALR Hearing date?

It usually takes 2-4 weeks to obtain a date for your ALR hearing, and you are entitled to one continuance after you receive the date. Once you request an ALR Hearing date, the first hearing date that you receive will be a few weeks after the notice. If you request a continuance, you will receive a new date within a few weeks.

Will my license remain active before my hearing?

Yes, your license will remain active before the hearing if you successfully and timely request the ALR hearing. Just make sure to carry the DIC-25 “Notice of Suspension / Temporary Driving Permit” with you. What is the DIC 25?

Do I need a lawyer for an ALR Hearing?

It is not a good idea to do an ALR hearing without a lawyer for the following (and many other) reasons: First of all, the ALR Hearing process is a civil court process with its own unique set of rules, law and procedure. And because it is not a criminal process, the court is much more stringent than a criminal court. Missed deadlines and mistakes in court procedures will be held against you and can cost you dearly. You cannot afford to make a mistake in this process.

Second, a DWI defense attorney like our has had the experience of cross-examining many police officers. If this is your first time, you will be at a distinct disadvantage because police officers who make DWI arrests are familiar with this process as well and have likely made many similar appearances.

There are certain lines of questioning and methods of questioning that make it more likely that you will receive good results from this process. If you do not understand the complexities of Field Sobriety Testing, breath tests, blood tests and police operating procedures, you will not be able to successfully cross-examine an officer on these topics.


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