An ALR hearing looks a lot like a very short criminal trial, however, your ALR hearing is separate from your DWI case. An ALR hearing is a gold mine for discovery and testimony regarding your criminal case. It is also an opportunity to keep your driver’s license from being suspended because of either providing a breath or blood sample over the legal limit of 0.08 or refusing to take a breath or blood test.
Alternatively, this is a chance to contest procedure immediately prior to a breath or blood test. During these hearings, an attorney can work to question the police officers who made the traffic stop and who asked you to perform the standardized field sobriety tests. It is also an opportunity to question the procedure immediately prior to the test used to measure your blood-alcohol content (BAC).
There is a short time to request these hearings after an arrest. ALRs provide you a chance to protect your driving privileges.
What is the Purpose of an ALR Hearing?
According to Texas Transportation Code §724.015, drivers in Houston and around the state may choose to refuse a breath or blood test if a police officer has probable cause to suspect drunk driving. A refusal to submit to this test or a failure upon taking this test will result in a suspension of that person’s driver’s license.
This suspension will last for a minimum of 180 days but may be as long as two years. The purpose of an ALR hearing is to let you challenge the evidence in your case. In addition, the hearing may determine whether the methods that the police officer used to request that you take a breath or blood test were appropriate.
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How Do these Hearings Function?
An ALR hearing will involve an examination of the witnesses and facts in your case. However, it is the responsibility of the driver’s lawyer to make certain requests in order to ensure that all dimensions of the case are considered by the judge. For instance, you must subpoena the officers to ensure their appearance at the hearing.
During the hearing, a number of issues may be raised, including:
- Whether or not the officer had sufficient probable cause for the initial stop
- Questioning of the police officer who administered the standardized field sobriety tests
- Ensuring the officer provided the appropriate warnings prior to requesting you submit a sample of your breath or blood
- And so much more
The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) overseeing the hearing will consider the evidence and issue a ruling. A favorable ruling for the driver will see the immediate reinstatement of a Texas driver’s license while awaiting trial for the DWI criminal charge.
How Long You Have to Request a Hearing
Timing is essential in all ALR hearings. If you refuse to take a breath or blood test, an officer will give you a temporary license and a notice of suspension for your license. This temporary license remains in effect for 15 days.
These 15 days reflect the length of time that the driver has to request an ALR hearing. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) provides an online form for parties to request these hearings. The form requires information concerning the driver’s license number, full name, date of birth, email, mailing address, phone number, the date of the arrest, county of arrest, officer’s name, officer’s agency, and whether the driver refused to take the BAC test or failed.
An attorney in Houston can help drivers to request these hearings quickly and accurately. This includes determining whether these 15 days have expired and gathering the documentation necessary to make a proper request. If you make a request incorrectly and the deadline passes, there is nothing you can do to fix the mistake.
The Outcome of an ALR Hearing Can Determine Your Right to Drive After a DWI Arrest
DWI arrests in Houston raise many legal questions. While it is true that an allegation of DWI is a matter for the criminal courts, a failed breath or blood BAC test will also trigger an administrative suspension of your driver’s license. Additionally, a refusal to submit to these tests will have a similar outcome.
It is critical to request these hearings as soon as possible. State law says that you have only 15 days from the date of arrest to exercise this right. It is also reasonable to wonder what happens during an ALR hearing. In short, the arresting officer will give their reasons for making the initial stop and subsequent arrest. But this is the best opportunity available in a DWI case to make a transcript of the officer’s testimony that can be used to help your DWI criminal case.
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Reach Out to the Attorneys at Blass Law to Get Started
Contact the legal team at Blass Law today. We can help you to better understand the concept of an ALR hearing and how it can protect your right to drive after a DWI arrest. We can also take the lead in requesting these hearings and representing your interests before the court.
Give us a call today at (713) 225-1900 to learn more and to find out how we can help you seek the best possible outcome for your case.