Texas DWI License Suspension and ALR Hearing Information

By | November 18, 2016

alr hearing dwi suspension in txWill my driver’s license probably be suspended?

Yes. Here’s why. The Department of Public Safety will file an administrative action against you before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (“SOAH,” which rhymes with “Noah”) in which they really have to prove very little.

They have to prove that the officer who pulled you over had reasonable suspicion to do so. He didn’t even need to see you commit a traffic offense. They have to prove that the officer had probable cause to believe that you had been driving while intoxicated.

Some might think that this is a criminal case and these things would be hard for DPS to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. But the case about your license isn’t a criminal case. It’s an administrative case.

If you agreed to do all tests that the officer requested you do, they have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence (in other words, that it’s a little more likely than not) that you were, in fact, driving. If you declined to do any test requested of you, they only have to prove that there was probable cause to believe that you were driving.

If you agreed to provide a sample of your breath or blood, they have to prove that you had a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 grams.

     If I’m probably going to lose my license, why bother with having the Administrative License Revocation hearing?

Having an Administrative License Revocation hearing is a win / win proposition for you. Your lawyer should always subpoena the officer who stopped you and the officer who arrested you. If either of them fail to show up, you win — your license isn’t suspended. Even if they both show up, it’s still possible to win these cases, though it’s unusual.

But even if the Administrative Law Judge authorizes DPS to suspend your license, it is still worth having the hearing because your lawyer will have a chance to cross-examine the officers in your case. Your attorney can pin them down, under oath, about the facts in your case. He can get them to commit themselves to a version of the facts that may contradict the video in the case. Or the officer will testify one way under oath at the ALR hearing and say the exact opposite at a pre-trial hearing in the criminal case against you. Even if the officer testifies well and accurately, your lawyer is in a better position to evaluate your case if you have an ALR hearing.

Related information:

ALR Hearing Request Form (pdf)
15 Days to Request ALR Hearing
DWI License Suspension in Texas