Requesting an ALR Hearing
Requesting an ALR Hearing
Hi, I'm Charlie Roadman, an Austin Criminal Defense attorney. And today I want to explain how you can request your own ALR hearing after a Texas DWI arrest. First, what is the ALR hearing? Well, it stands for administrative license revocation, and it is what happens or what you can request if you've been arrested for a DWI and you blew over 0.08, or you refused breath or blood. Any of those three scenarios are going to trigger an automatic suspension at the 40 day mark, but you have 15 days to request an administrative license revocation hearing. So what that does is it delays suspension. It stops the 40 day suspension and it delays that until the judge has had a chance to hear your case, which could be 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 months down the line. Now, you only have 15 days from the date of arrest to request that hearing.
So, before I tell you how to do it, I want to tell you why you should have an attorney do it, and that you shouldn't do it yourself. But here we go. First, DPS will send you, if you request it, a letter. Now, you might miss that letter. DPS might have your wrong address. There're things that can go wrong with that. So if you have an attorney, the attorney's a professional and used to dealing with this, and so they'll check their mail, they'll get the facts, and so there won't be a problem with that.
The other thing that's important is that for any chance for you win the hearing, you have to subpoena the police officers. People often think if they've just requested the hearing, and then therefore the officer will show up. Well, they don't have to show up unless you've properly subpoenaed the officer, which is something entirely different than just requesting the hearing. And that's tricky and each agency's different. So, you theoretically could do it on your own, but defense attorneys do it all day long every day, so it's much easier for them to do it.
Now, the other thing is that the judge will only consider whether there was reasonable suspicion to stop you and probable cause to arrest you. And a lot of people think, I'm going to go to this hearing and I'm just going to argue with the judge. I'm a good arguer. I've got all these explanations for this, that, and the judge won't care. They'll only care about whether the officer had reasonable suspicion and that's generally some sort of traffic violation or some sort of reason they're allowed to come investigate and probable cause to arrest you, which generally only means you smelled like alcohol or had some sort of intoxication characteristic. It's a very low bar. So attorneys are trained to argue these points and to look at the evidence and see what would help you. It would be very difficult for a non-lawyer to come into this type of hearing and win based on legal arguments.
Now, here you go, though, the instructions on how to request the hearing are on the temporary driving permit that you get when they take your license after a DWI arrest. And they're at the very bottom there, and there's just a phone number. It's an 800 number, and you're going to have to give them some answers to questions, demographic, who you are, who arrested you and that type of thing. And that information is all on that same page. The only thing that's a little tricky is they'll say, do you want a phone one or an in-person one? And my suggestion is to request the in-person one, because that's what makes the police officer, once they're subpoenaed, show up. And that gives us an opportunity to win if they don't show up, because sometimes they don't. However, the judge will give them a few chances. Sometimes the third time they don't show up, the judge will dismiss the case.
Now, other ALR questions. First, can you request a hearing and then have an attorney take over? Yes. So, if you don't have an attorney and it's like the 14th day after the arrest, you can request a hearing and then hire an attorney next week and the attorney will take over. There are some sort of tricky components to that, but nothing you need to worry about. Any good attorney can substitute in and take it over after that.
Now, should you always have an ALR hearing? Usually any good DWI defense attorney will have the hearing because there's a chance we learn something that helps us on the criminal side of the case. And sometimes we do win the hearings and your license isn't suspended, or the officer didn't show up. So you should have a hearing, but if you missed the opportunity or something, it's not that big a deal. The chances that we learn something or win or something like that are about 10% to 15%, so 85% of the time, it's just a hearing that it's hard to win. It does delay the suspension for a while and sometimes that's helpful for people.
Now, can you possibly win an ALR hearing? It is possible if the facts are right. If the officers have done their job, really even decently it's very difficult. Usually they have to make some huge mistake or just, like I said, not show up at the hearing a couple times in a row.
Now, here's something that's important though, can you get an occupational license if you lose your hearing? And 99% of the time, you can. An attorney can get you a different license that has some restrictions, but they're not that bad. So just if you lose the hearing, just talk to your attorney about an occupational license. And then where can you get more information about ALR hearings? On my website. I've got other videos. I've got podcasts, FAQs, just poke around and I hope the information really helps you out. Good luck.