If you’ve lost your driving privileges, explore how a DWI attorney can help maximize the best possible outcome after a DWI license suspension.
If you’re arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas, there are two challenges that await.
First, you’ll be forced to face the federal penalties that accompany your crime. Second, you’ll have to come to terms with losing your driving privileges.
For many people, losing their license is one of the hardest parts of a DWI arrest. Suddenly, getting to work, visiting family and simply getting around town becomes a lot more difficult.
Wondering how the Texas DWI license suspension system works? Wondering how quickly you can get yours back? That’s why we’re here.
Read on to learn everything you’ll need to know during this trying time.
Why is My License Suspended?
Consider this scenario: You’re pulled over by a police officer, who suspects that you are driving while under the influence. You’re asked to take a blood or breath test.
A few minutes later, your license is in the arresting officer’s hand and you’re facing charges.
Under Texas law, drivers can lose their license if they meet any of the below three criteria:
- You refuse to take or complete a blood or breath test.
- You take a blood or breath test that reveals a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more while driving a non-commercial motor vehicle.
- You take a blood or breath test that registers a BAC of 0.04% or more while driving a commercial motor vehicle.
Your license suspension will occur under a state initiative called the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program. When it happens to you, it’s natural to feel out of sorts and out of control.
The good news? There are a few ways you can help turn the matter in your favor as much as possible. Let’s take a look at a few of your options.
Understanding Your Suspension Timeline
Is this your first DWI offense? If so, your license could be suspended for up to one year. A second or subsequent offense will result in a suspension of up to 18 months or longer.
In either case, your license suspension could be longer if the following applies to your case:
- Your BAC exceeded 0.08
- There was an open container of alcohol in the car
- There was a child age 14 or younger in the car
- Your DWI caused an accident, injury, or fatality
After confiscating your license, the arresting officer will issue you a temporary permit to drive. This permit is called a Notice of Suspension and Temporary Driving Permit (Form DIC-25). On it, you’ll find the steps to take if you want to contest your suspension through an ALR hearing.
Contesting Your Driver’s License Suspension
Do you believe your license was suspended under unfair circumstances? If so, your first step should be to hire a DWI attorney who can help you defend your rights.
Under certain circumstances, the ALR program will permit drivers to contest their license suspension. If you’re granted permission to contest, you must do so within 15 days of being served your notice. Once you issue your request, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will send you a written response at your address on record.
If approved, you’ll find the date, time and location of your hearing in the response. While this might seem like a step in the right direction, understand that it could take up to 120 days to schedule your hearing.
At the hearing, your DWI attorney can testify on your behalf. The judge will also hear a testimony from the arresting officer or anyone else who has information pertinent to your case. Taking these details into account, the judge can issue a decision on the duration of your suspension.
Appealing Your Driver’s License Suspension
Another route you can take is to appeal your driver’s license suspension altogether. To do so, you’ll need to file an official appeal no longer than 30 days after the first day of your suspension.
In this case, the appeals court will review your case and determine if there is grounds to reissue your license.
Reinstating Your License, Step by Step
If you opt not to contest your license suspension, there are certain steps you’ll have to follow before you’ll be able to drive again.
Step 1: Understand the Specifics of Your Case
First, you can review the specifics of your case by visiting the Texas DPS online License Eligibility system. To log in to this website, you’ll need the following:
- Your driver’s license or ID number
- Your birth date
- The last four digits of your Social Security Number
Once you’re logged in, you can view the details of your license suspension. Here, you can pay fees for the associated offenses and view other compliance items you need to complete to get your license back. You’ll also be able to track your driving eligibility status, so be sure to bookmark this site.
Step 2: Pay Any Required Reinstatement Fees
In most cases, the Texas DPS will require drivers to pay reinstatement fees before their license can be restored. You can pay these fees through the License Eligibility website mentioned above.
While you can mail your payment, this is the quickest and most convenient way to do so, with payments processed in 24 to 48 hours. In addition to your initial reinstatement fees, you may also be required to pay an annual surcharge of up to $2,000 for three years after the date of your conviction.
Step 3: Complete Other Compliance Items
Once you’ve paid your fees (or if you don’t have any fees to pay), your next step is to complete the remaining compliance items outlined on your License Eligibility checklist.
Usually, these are official forms that you’ll need to fill out and submit. You can submit them via email, mail, or fax. To make sure the Texas DPS associates the forms with your case, you’ll need to include the following on each document:
- Your complete name
- Your date of birth
- Your driver license number
In addition, you should also include a copy of your suspension notice with the forms, if one is available.
Applying for a Provisional License in Texas
Formerly known as an occupational license, a provisional license allows certain people convicted of a DWI to continue driving for essential purposes, including:
- School-related activities
- Essential household duties
To obtain a provisional license, you’ll need to file a petition with the court where you reside. Alternatively, you can file a petition to the court of the jurisdiction where the offense occurred. Each location will have its own forms to fill out and procedures to follow.
If the court approves your request, you’ll receive a signed court order. Note that this is not your provisional license. To receive one, you’ll need to submit the signed court order to the Texas DPS, who will issue the official document.
While this license can help you get from Point A to Point B, understand that not everyone will be eligible for one. Moreover, you might have to wait for a certain amount of time before you can petition to the appropriate court to make your request.
Why Partner with a Texas DWI Lawyer?
Can you navigate these next steps on your own? You can, but your chances of receiving a favorable outcome are lower when you opt to self-represent. A DWI lawyer can help ensure that you follow the proper protocols necessary to reinstate your driving privileges as soon as possible.
A suspended license isn’t just a minor inconvenience. It can drastically alter your quality of life and make even the simplest tasks more difficult. That’s where we come in.
When you partner with one of our qualified attornies, you can fight for your rights and challenge your driver’s license suspension. In addition, we can also perform other valuable services, including:
- Scheduling your ALR hearing
- Representing you at your ALR hearing
- Appealing your license suspension
- Petitioning the local court for an occupational license
We’ll Help You Fight a DWI License Suspension
When you’re in the throes of a DWI license suspension, it can feel like the entire world is against you. This is especially the case if you’re stuck at home, unable to travel anywhere on your own.
We understand your challenge, and we’ve helped clients just like you work through this difficult situation.
Our team of experienced lawyers and professional staff is ready to stand by your side throughout this entire journey, fighting for your rights every step of the way. From complicated legal jargon to multi-step processes, we’ve done it all and we know how the system works.
Contact us today for a consultation and let’s get started.