What is an ALR Hearing?
After the initial shock of your arrest and detention for being charged with a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), you will be faced with a number of resulting consequences. The Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program is a state administrative process instigated in addition to criminal proceedings. Upon arrest, if you fail or refuse to give a specimen or failed a breath or blood test, your license will be seized and you will be given notice of an intent to suspend your driver’s license ranging from 90 days to 2 years.
How to Request a ALR Hearing
However, individuals may contest the license suspension. To contest the suspension of your driver license, you must request an ALR hearing within 15 days of arrest. The “notice of suspension” you receive upon release from detention explains how to submit a request. If the request for a hearing is submitted within the required 15 days, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will send a letter providing the date, time and location of the ALR hearing within 120 days. Requests made after the required 15 days will be denied and the individual will be notified by mail that the suspension will take effect 40 days after the date of arrest.
Three Elements that Need to be Proven to Suspend Your License
The ALR hearing is usually held much earlier than your criminal trial. It is less formal than a trial and has relaxed evidentiary rules. The arresting officer is usually the only witness for the state. The state must prove three elements to uphold the suspension of your driver’s license.
First, the state must show that the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle at the time of your arrest. Reasonable suspicion is a relatively low standard of proof and means the police officer can articulate facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe criminal activity had occurred or was likely to occur. Examples of such facts are weaving across lanes or speeding.
Secondly, the state must prove that the officer had probable cause to arrest for DWI. Probable cause means it is more likely than not that a crime has been committed. Probable cause can consist of observations made by the officer during a field sobriety test, or admissions made by you concerning drinking alcohol.
Finally, the state must prove either you agreed to a breath or blood test with a result of over a .08, or that you refused to take the breath or blood test. If the state fails to prove any of these three elements, then the suspension of your license cannot be upheld.
How an ALR Hearing Can Help Your Defense
While defendants are not always successful in getting their suspension overturned, it can be a valuable tool in your defense. The ALR hearing can be used to collect evidence for your criminal trial. The defense has an opportunity to examine the police officers involved in the arrest and pin them down as to their version of events. If your license is suspended, you may still apply for limited driving privileges. If it is your first DWI, you may request an Occupational License which will allow you to drive to work, and to essential services.
We win lots of ALR hearings for a variety of issues. Sometimes, even when the officer shows up and the case is made, we still gain such valuable testimony that results in the DWI getting dismissed. Don’t ever trust a lawyer who won’t also handle your ALR. It’s an invaluable mode of discovery.
Houston DWI Defense
Suspension of your driver’s license can have serious consequences for your job and personal relationships. You have rights but if you fail to act, those rights can be lost. Contact Houston DWI Attorney, Thiessen Law Firm, in Houston for a free consultation concerning your DWI and ALR hearing. Call 713-864-9000