ADMINISTRATIVE LICENSE REVOCATION HEARING:
If you’ve ever been arrested for a DWI where you refused to provide a breath or blood specimen, one of the first things you’ll need to do is request an Administrative License Revocation Hearing (ALR Hearing). If you do not request one within 15 days of your arrest, your driver’s license is automatically suspended. Many people will comment that the standard of proof is so low at an ALR Hearing, it’s not worth requesting one or hiring an attorney to represent you. The idea here is, “Why request one if you know you’re going to lose?”. To address this concern, let me first encourage you to request one on the grounds that you have nothing to lose by doing so. The reality is, by simply requesting an ALR hearing, you’re guaranteeing yourself the right to use your temporary driving permit beyond the 15 days after your arrest, through the date of your ALR hearing. Further, you’re giving yourself the chance, however slight, that you’ll win the ALR hearing and get your license back.
WHAT SHOULD MY REQUEST INCLUDE?
If you’re clueless on how to request an ALR hearing, ask a lawyer or look at the bottom of the DIC 25 form, which explains this information in small print. Your request must include the following information:
(1) Full Name
(2) Date of Birth
(4) Date of Arrest
(5) County of Arrest
(6) Arresting Agency
(7) Arresting Officer’s Names
(8) Your Mailing Address
(9) Your Daytime Phone Number
(10) Your Home Phone Number
Further, your request must also specify whether you want a telephonic hearing or an in-person hearing at the State Office of Administrative Hearing’s location. I recommend an in-person hearing, and that you hire an attorney to represent you at the hearing, preferably one who has veteran experience.
WHERE DO I SEND MY REQUEST TO?
Fax your request to (512) 424-2650. This is the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Austin Headquarters.
WHY IS THE BURDEN OF PROOF SO LOW?
The burden of proof at an ALR hearing is a preponderance of the evidence. This burden of proof is contrasted with beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the more severe test of evidence required to convict in a criminal trial. DPS has jurisdiction over your driver’s license and your right to drive. Since DPS issues your driver’s license, they can also take it away under the Texas Transportation Code, through a civil proceeding spelled out in the State Office of Administrative Rules.
WHAT IF I LOSE AT THE HEARING?
If you lose at the hearing, your license will be revoked for 180 days up to one year, and you may have to pay as much as $3,000 in surcharges to have your license reissued when the period of your license suspension is over. You may also ask your attorney to file a petition for an occupational driver’s license, so that you will be permitted to drive on a restricted basis, for purposes of moving forward with your daily life and affairs.
Just because you may lose your license at an ALR hearing, does not mean you can’t benefit from hiring a lawyer who knows what he/she is doing. In fact, a determined lawyer will fight an ALR hearing that he should have won, all the way up the appellate ladder, only to get a victory. While this takes time and money, it also offers you a second chance at getting your license back and surcharges refunded, and removing any record of a license suspension, all of which saves you money. Check out Texas Department of Public Safety v. Allocca, No. 03-08-00624-CV, Court of Appeals of Texas, Austin. The opinion demonstrates that an effective DWI lawyer can turn negative facts into positive ones, thereby winning your case.