Sunday, January 8, 2012

Keeping Your Driver’s License after a DWI Arrest: The ALR Hearing


The ALR Hearing:
If you have been charged with DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), the law allows you fifteen (15) calendar days to contact the DPS (Department of Public Safety) and request an ALR (Administrative License Revocation) Hearing. This hearing will usually be scheduled to take place sometime between two to three months from your date of arrest. Failure to request a hearing within this time is considered a waiver and will result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license.  The objective of the ALR Hearing is to find out if the officer had reasonable suspicion to make the stop, whether there was probable cause, whether the driver was given an opportunity to provide a breath or blood sample, and if there was alcohol concentration above the legal limit.

This ALR Hearing is extremely important for several reasons:
·  This hearing will determine whether or not your driver’s license is suspended;
 
· 
In the event that your driver’s license is temporarily suspended, this hearing will give you the timely notice needed so that you can take the necessary steps to  request and/or receive an Occupational Driver’s License in its place. In addition, it may save you the embarrassment and the money of a future arrest if you continue driving while your license was suspended.  In other words, having notice that your Driver’s License has been suspended can prevent both another criminal case against you and the possibility of another arrest.
 
Note: An Occupational Driver’s License is a driver’s license issued only to individuals who have had their driver’s license suspended. This type of license has restrictions, and only authorizes the holder to drive a passenger vehicle under limited circumstances and for specific purposes, including, but not necessarily limited to, commuting to and from work, attending to certain familial responsibilities, attending court mandated appointments, going to medical appointments, and the like.
 
· 
This hearing can result in the assessment of the following penalties:
 
First-time offenders are subject to a possible
90-day driver’s license suspension. This suspension could be doubled to 180 days if it is determined that a breathalyzer test was refused.
 
Offenders with one DWI conviction in the five-year time period prior to their arrest are subject to a possible
one-year driver’s license suspension;
 
Offenders with two DWI convictions in the ten-year time period prior to their arrest are subject to a possible
two-year driver’s license suspension;
 
Offenders who are considered minors (under the age of 18 years) are subject to a possible
60-day driver’s license suspension for their first offense, a possible 120-day driver’s license suspension for their second offense, and a possible 180-day driver’s license suspension for their third offense;
 
Most importantly, this hearing is not Judicial in nature, and as such
cannot afford you any protection against self incrimination. This means that evidence presented at this hearing can be used against you in your criminal case.
 
It is extremely important to hire a skilled and experienced attorney to represent you at your ALR hearing and at your criminal trial. You want to have the best chance to keep your license or to be granted an occupational driver’s license if yours is suspended. Moreover, you want to be protected against saying anything incriminating during the ALR hearing if you elect to appear and testify. Finally, you want to have the opportunity to have an attorney subpoena and cross examine the arresting officer at the ALR hearing to gauge the lawfulness of your arrest.
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Author: Andrew Sullo
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Andrew Sullo

Andrew SulloAndrew Sullo

Andrew Sullo is a National Trial Lawyer's Top 100 Selection for 2013-2019. He is a member of the American Association of Justice (2013-2019), and a recipient of the 2019 AVVO Client's Choice Award.

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