ALR Hearings Explained
Understanding and Receiving Help with an ALR Hearing
Texas, like most other states, has a process administered by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) that can suspend your license without going through a court or due process. On the average the DPS will suspend roughly 100,000 licenses annual due to DWI arrests. This is called an Administrative License Revocation or ALR. It is authorized under Sections 524 and 724 of the Texas Transportation Code.
An ALR suspension usually is initiated by an officer of the law. If you are stopped on suspicion of driving while intoxicated or a DWI related offense then the officer will conduct field sobriety tests. Failing these tests will lead to an arrest and a demand for a blood or breath test to determine the presence of alcohol and/or drugs as well as the Blood Alcohol Count (BAC). If you either refuse a test or your specimen shows a non-acceptable BAC then you will be served a notice of suspension and your driver's license will be taken. This is considered a civil action and does not prevent any future criminal actions to be taken against you by the courts. Even if you are proven to be not guilty of the criminal DWI charge, you will still have to address the administrative aspect of your driver's license suspension at the DPS.
An attorney will have experience in tacking license suspensions which have occurred under these circumstances as well as assisting you in ALR hearings on such matters. Although you may also be facing criminal charges and having to deal with a DWI offense in court this does not mean one can ignore or take lightly a ALR or ALR hearing. Your driver's license is critical to surviving well in our society. Without the possession and use of a driver's license it can be difficult to find employment or even to obtain food. Yet in Section 524.012 of the transportation code it states:
- A determination under this section is final unless a hearing is requested
- A determination under this section is a civil matter and
- Is independent of…a criminal charge arising from the occurrence that is the basis for the suspension
As you can see the process of an ALR suspension and a ALR hearing can cause you to lose your license independently of due process. The opportunity to question evidence, the validity of the arrest or protect ones rights is not built into this process as it is within our court systems and the body of law.