This is a guest post by Texas practitioner Greg Tsioros.
Greg Tsioros is a defense lawyer who provides legal advice and representation for clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies of any stature. Parole review hearings are an area of specialty for Greg Tsioros and he proudly serves Houston, Texas.
What is an ALR Hearing?
Driving while under the influence is a serious crime in the state of Texas. If you were accused, then you were likely subjected to sobriety tests, handcuffed and hauled off to jail. That’s not the end of your troubles, though.
If you’re convicted in court, then you’ll face a wide array of further penalties. From court-mandated alcohol classes to potential jail time, there’s a lot on the line. You’ll also be subject to an ALR hearing that will decide the fate of your driving rights.
What Is Implied Consent in Texas?
If you were accused of a DUI offense, then police officers likely stopped you while you were driving. In Texas, the implied consent law applies to all motorists. The law explains that any individual who is accused of a driving-related offense automatically consents to submit to testing for alcohol.
Technically, you do have a right to refuse a breathalyzer or field sobriety test, but you can’t refuse one without consequence due to this implied consent law.
If you refused to submit to testing when you were arrested, then you’ll still be subject to an ALR hearing. Your driving privileges could be revoked because you refused to take the breathalyzer. You can still be convicted of a DUI even without breathalyzer evidence.
What to Expect During an ALR Hearing
ALR is short for the Administrative License Revocation Program. This is a civil process that’s entirely separate from the criminal consequences of getting convicted for a DUI. You’ll be forced to endure this type of hearing when:
- You were arrested for DUI
- You refused to take a breathalyzer
- You submitted to a breathalyzer and the result was over .08%
This hearing is automatic. You have 15 days from the time you receive a suspension notice to contest the suspension and request a hearing. If you fail to do so, then your license will be suspended automatically without further action from you.
Contesting your license suspension will mean you’ll need to appear in court for a hearing. During the hearing, you’ll be given an opportunity to present evidence to an Administrative Law Judge. They’ll listen and make a final determination about whether your license will be suspended or not. If the judge believes the department hasn’t proven their case, then you’ll be allowed to keep your license.
If you refused to take a blood alcohol concentration test, then you’ll be facing both an administrative penalty for refusing and the standard penalties for a DWI. You may be able to avoid a DWI conviction, but you won’t be able to evade the penalties for refusing the test. Your first offense will result in a license suspension for 180 days.
It may be possible to apply for an occupational license. This type of license will allow you to keep driving to and from work. You’ll also be permitted to drive when you need to perform essential duties like grocery shopping or bringing your children to school.
How Can an Attorney Help?
DUI penalties and the penalties for refusing a breathalyzer test are steep in the state of Texas, but attorneys can aid you in the following ways:
- An attorney will help you determine if your arrest was constitutional.
- An attorney will help get evidence thrown out if it was obtained illegally.
- They’ll help you devise the best possible defense strategy.
- They’ll help you file all the necessary paperwork to ensure you have the best chances in court.
You have a limited opportunity to submit all your evidence, present your defense and convince the judge. An attorney can help you with both your ALR hearing and your criminal court proceedings.
Coping with a DUI or License Revocation
Losing your driving privileges is difficult. You’ll want to keep tabs on the Texas license eligibility webpage to see when you’ll be eligible for reinstatement. Before your license is reinstated, you may need to pay off any fees that you owe.
If you feel like your license has been unfairly revoked, then you may be eligible to appeal the revocation. After your hearing concludes, you should receive the decision by mail. This decision will include all the information you need to file an appeal. Consider seeking an attorney’s counsel if you’re thinking of appealing after an unfavorable ALR hearing.