Many people commonly believe their driving privileges are (immediately) suspended after being arrested for a DWI. Fortunately, this is not the case. This article will clear up the myths regarding driver’s license suspensions and DWI’s.
The first question to ask in determining your license eligibility following a DWI arrest:
- Did you refuse to give a specimen, or did you consent?
Under Texas law, if you are suspected of an offense arising out of intoxication, an officer may request that you provide a blood or breath sample. If you refuse to give that sample, the Department of Public Safety will suspend your driver’s license for no less than 180 days. Consequently, if you refuse to provide a sample, you will have 15 days from the time of your arrest to request a hearing with DPS to contest your license suspension. If you fail to request such a hearing, your license WILL be suspended for the 180 days. If the officer asked you for a blood or breath specimen and you said yes, your license will NOT automatically be suspended. However, if your breath or blood alcohol content comes back over the legal limit, which is 0.08, your license will be suspended for 90 days. Upon obtaining your breath or blood results, DPS will send you a letter in the mail notifying you that you have 20 days to request a hearing. If you do not request a hearing, your license will automatically be suspended for the 90 days.
Why Request a Hearing?
In order to suspend your driver’s license, DPS must prove that:
- The stop was lawful
- The arrest was lawful
- Either you refused, or your BAC was over 0.08.
If DPS cannot prove one of the above elements, then it is likely your license will not be suspended. There may also be problems with paperwork or how notifications were administered.
However, even if your license case is dismissed, it is important to keep in mind that this does not end the DWI case entirely.
DWI Arrests Are (Two) Cases
When you are arrested for a DWI, two cases will, subsequently, be opened. The first is the driver’s license case, as explained above. This is known as the Administrative License Hearing (ALR) and is civil in nature.
The second is the criminal case. The District or County Attorney’s Office is the entity handling this case. Associated penalties include jail time, fines, and/or probation.
It is imperative to you and your future that you have an attorney on your side who understands the nuances of both the ALR and criminal cases. If you’ve been arrested for a DWI, set up a consultation with me, Mehr Singh, and we will go over everything in detail, so you encounter no surprises moving forward.