Driver's License Suspensions & Revocations

Skilled DWI Attorney in Houston, Texas

A law enforcement officer determines that there is a reasonable suspicion for an initial traffic stop of a motorist. After contact with the individual is initiated, the officer develops probable cause to arrest the person for DWI. Specifically, if the officer has reason to believe that the driver is impaired, a set of field sobriety tests may be administered. If the driver performs poorly, the driver is arrested for DWI and transported to the police station.

At the station, the driver is asked to submit to a chemical test to measure his/her alcohol concentration. Usually, the individual is asked to take a breath test, although the officer may request a blood specimen. If the driver refuses to provide a specimen, or provides a specimen with a prohibited alcohol concentration, the officer serves the individual with a Notice of Suspension and confiscates the driver license.

Offenders Under 21 Years of Age

As with adult offenders, a law enforcement officer must have reasonable suspicion to conduct a traffic stop. However, a full custodial arrest is not required for a DUI offense, but is permitted, according to the officer's discretion. Once the officer determines that the individual is under 21 years of age, and has reason to believe that he/she has consumed alcohol, two distinct methods of enforcement are possible.

In less serious cases, the officer will issue the driver a citation of DUI, serve the individual with a Notice of Suspension and confiscate the driver license. The minor will not be placed under arrest and no chemical test will be requested. Alternatively, the officer may proceed with a custodial arrest procedure if he believes that the individual is seriously impaired. Field sobriety tests may be administered and the minor will be arrested (or taken into custody) and transported to the police station. The driver may be asked to submit to a chemical test to measure his/her alcohol concentration. If the minor refuses to provide a specimen or provides a specimen with any detectable amount of alcohol, the officer will issue a citation for DUI, serve the individual with a Notice of Suspension and confiscate the driver license. Of course, the officer may arrest the minor for the more serious offense of DWI if the circumstances warrant such a charge.

Request for a DWI Hearing in Texas

Regardless of age, the driver has 15 days from the date the Notice of Suspension is served to request a hearing. If no hearing is requested, the suspension automatically goes into effect on the 40th day after notice was served. If the individual requests a hearing, the temporary driving permit remains in effect until the date of the final decision of the administrative law judge. The driver is required to pay a fee of $125 to reinstate the license after the suspension period expires.

Hearing Procedures

The ALR hearing is conducted at a location designated by the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) in either the county of arrest (if the arrest occurred in a county with a population in excess of 300,000) or within 75 miles of the county seat of the county of arrest. Alternatively, both parties may agree to hold the hearing by teleconference. The hearing is conducted by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) employed by SOAH and the DPS has the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence. If the judge makes an affirmative finding on all the relevant issues, the license is suspended.

Adult Offenders

If the driver failed the breath or blood test, the ALJ must determine whether (1) the person had an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater while operating a motor vehicle in a public place; and (2) reasonable suspicion to stop or probable cause to arrest the person existed.

If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test, the ALJ must determine whether (1) reasonable suspicion or probable cause existed to stop or arrest the person; (2) probable cause existed to believe that the person was operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated or operating a watercraft powered with an engine having a manufacturer's rating of 50 horsepower or more while intoxicated; (3) the person was placed under arrest by the officer and was requested to submit to the taking of a specimen; and (4) the person refused to submit to the taking of a specimen on request of the officer.

Offenders Under 21 Years of Age

If a chemical test was not requested or if the driver provided a specimen with any detectable amount of alcohol, the ALJ must determine whether: (1) the person is a minor and had any detectable amount of alcohol in the minor's system while operating a motor vehicle in a public place; and (2) whether reasonable suspicion to stop or probable cause to arrest or take the minor into custody existed.

If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test, the ALJ must determine whether; (1) reasonable suspicion or probable cause existed to arrest or take the minor into custody; (2) probable cause existed to believe that the minor was operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated or while having any detectable amount of alcohol in the minor's system or operating a watercraft powered with an engine having a manufacturer's rating of 50 horsepower or above while intoxicated; (3) the minor was placed under arrest or taken into custody and was requested to submit to the taking of a specimen; and (4) the minor refused to submit to the taking of a specimen on request of the officer.

Appeal of ALR Suspension

An individual whose license has been suspended following an administrative hearing may appeal the decision rendered by the ALJ. The petition must be filed within thirty days of the decision in the county court in the county of arrest. A properly filed appeal petition stays the suspension for first offenders for up to ninety days.

Conviction for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI/DUI)

The license suspension period ranges from 90 days up to 2 years. A conviction for driving while intoxicated under the age of 21 will result in an automatic suspension for one year. Texas Transportation Code 521.344.

NOTE: It is possible to receive a suspension for a DWI conviction AND a suspension for a blood/breath test refusal/failure arising from the same arrest; it is also possible to receive a suspension for a blood/breath test refusal/failure even if the DWI charge is dismissed.

Reinstatement Requirements

A reinstatement fee will be required prior to the renewal/issuance of a driver license.

File proof of insurance (form SR-22) with your insurance company for two years from date of conviction and submit to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

If a Repeat Offender's DWI education program has been required by the convicting court, certificate of completion must be forwarded to DPS prior to the expiration of the suspension to prevent an additional revocation period.

Annual Surcharge

Drivers who receive a conviction for DWI will pay an annual surcharge for a period of three years.

  • A first-time DWI results in a $1,000 surcharge, paid annually for three years.
  • A second-time DWI results in a $1,500 surcharge, paid annually for three years.

The charges are cumulative. For example a driver could pay $1,000 as a result of their first DWI and an additional $1,500 for their second DWI, paying a total of $2,500 annually.

Failure to pay the surcharge, or failure to make payment arrangements and to strictly abide by the payment plan will result in the suspension of your license. The suspension will be lifted once your payment of the surcharge is current.

Alcohol Related Offenses by a Minor

Persons under 21 years of age who are convicted of the following offenses will receive a 30 day license suspension for the first offense, 60 days for a second offense, and 180 days for a third offense. Alcohol Beverage Code 106.071.

  • Purchase of alcohol by a minor
  • Attempt to purchase alcohol by a minor
  • Consumption of alcohol by a minor
  • Possession of alcohol by a minor
  • Misrepresentation of age by a minor

There are no reinstatement requirements for these alcohol related suspensions.

Automatic Suspension and License Denial for Drug Offenses

A person's driver's license is automatically suspended on final conviction of:

  • an offense under the Controlled Substances Act;
  • a drug offense;
  • a felony under Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code, that is not a drug offense.

The period of suspension under this section is the 180 days after the date of a final conviction, and the period of license denial is the 180 days after the date the person applies to the department for reinstatement or issuance of a driver's license.

The department may not issue a driver's license to a person convicted of an offense specified who, on the date of the conviction, did not hold a driver's license. Texas Transportation Code §521.372.

Get the Help You Need 24/7 from a Reliable DWI Lawyer in Houston, Texas

If you have been arrested for DWI then contact a Houston DWI defense lawyer from my office to discuss your case today. You can speak to someone weekday or weekend, day or night by calling 713-468-2394 (713-got-aDWI), or you can use the e-mail link for a response the next business day. In criminal cases I offer payment plans, and I accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover Card, and American Express. Program my number into your cell phone now, because you never know when you'll need help.

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