Articles

14
Jan

Saving Your Texas Driver’s License

Saving Your Texas Driver’s License

Schneider & McKinney, P.C.

110 Lyric Center, 440 Louisiana Street, Houston, Texas 77002, (713) 951-9994

The information contained on this page is to answer some questions you may have concerning the potential suspension or revocation of your Texas Driver’s License.

Saving Your Texas Driver’s License?

Your driver’s license is subject to suspension if you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test when requested by an officer following an arrest for DWI or a DWI related offense. Your license is not automatically suspended. You have a right to request a hearing and, in the event you fail to request a hearing, your license will be suspended. Always request the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing. Your lawyer should do this for you, as well as request the discovery of any and all documents the Department of Public Safety (DPS) prosecutors will rely on in attempting to suspend your license. To preserve your right to drive in Texas, you must request a hearing within 15 days of the date you were served with a Notice of Suspension. In most cases this is the day of your arrest. If you timely requested a hearing to contest your license suspension, you will be able to continue to drive until an Administrative Law Judge rules against you and suspends your driver’s license. If you lose the hearing, your driver’s license will be suspended and you cannot drive unless you obtain an essential needs (occupational) driver’s license. You can request either an in-person hearing or a telephonic hearing. In many cases it is advisable to request an in-person hearing and issue a request for a subpoena for the arresting officer’s presence in court. Additionally, requests for subpoenas can be filed for other officers involved in the case. This can give you a preview of your DWI trial, a rarity in criminal cases. At other times, it may be more prudent to request a telephonic hearing and forego the appearance of the officers in the ALR court. This is a very important decision and one that should certainly be discussed with your lawyer. These hearings are very technical and victory, more times than not, hinges on your lawyer’s ability to identify and present a technical mistake made by the officer or by the DPS prosecutor.

In the event your license is suspended, you may be eligible to receive an essential needs (occupational) driver’s license. This can be obtained by filing a petition in civil court. It is much like filing a civil lawsuit seeking to have a court make a ruling. Once the petition is filed, the case is put on a civil docket and a court date is set. You will accompany your lawyer to civil court and testify as to certain statutory elements, which must be shown in order to secure the license. The judge will set the hours you may drive during each day. The total number of hours the judge may allow you to drive during each day is 12, but more often than not, the judge limits the hours to the hours necessary for getting to and from work, school, grocery store, etcetera. Once the judge signs the order, you may drive with a certified copy of the written order for a period of 30 days. In the meantime, your lawyer should send a copy of the order along with an SR-22 form your insurance carrier to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), in Austin. DPS will thereafter issue an Essential Needs (or occupational) License and mail it to you. Once the period of suspension expires you cannot get your actual driver’s license back until you pay a reinstatement fee. Once this is paid, DPS will mail you your license. Most good lawyers will mail everything to DPS at the same time. That way, DPS will automatically mail your actual driver’s license back to you when the suspension period ends.


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