Your driving privileges are suspended when facing a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge in Texas. This sounds par for the course, especially compared to similar penalties in other U.S. states.
But in Texas, the state Department of Public Safety handles the license suspensions through the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) program. Your license suspension under the ALR process is separate from the criminal court proceedings over your DWI charge.
If the license suspension or revocation process is separate from the DWI court process, how can you contest the state’s decision to remove your driving privileges?
Requesting a hearing
You can request a hearing to challenge a license suspension or revocation. To do this, you must file a request within 15 days of being served notice of suspension or disqualification. Once filed, the Department of Public Safety will process the request and later send you a letter detailing the date, time and location of your hearing. It might take 120 days to schedule a hearing from the date of submitting a request.
During the hearing
An administrative law judge will lead the hearing. This judge will listen to the evidence presented by all parties and make the final determination on whether your license is suspended, revoked, modified or restored.
Because this hearing works similarly in some ways to a civil or criminal court, you can consult with a legal professional who can advocate on your behalf to reinstate your license.
Appealing a decision
The administrative law judge could side with the Department of Public Safety and order the suspension of your license. Even if this happens, you can appeal the decision by filing a petition with a county or district court within 30 days of the suspension. If your appeal gets the appellate court’s approval, the Department can temporarily lift the suspension for 90 days. But if the appellate court can’t decide within 90 days, the Department will reapply the suspension or revocation.
Notably, the Department will consider any prior alcohol and drug-related enforcement contacts you might have in determining whether your appeal can stay the suspension.
The ALR process might be intimidating and confusing at first, but a legal professional may be able to guide you throughout the program and fight to protect your driving privileges.