In Texas, after being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) there are several steps you must take to protect your liberty and license. Two tracks will start when you are arrested, the civil track and the criminal track. On the civil side, you have your license suspension and potentially the Occupational Drivers License. On the criminal side, you have a DWI charge.
1. The ALR (Administrative License Revocation) review.
After a DWI arrest, whether you are found guilty or not, your license will be suspended within 40 days. To avoid the automatic suspension you must file a request for an ALR hearing within 15 days of being arrested. In this hearing, you will have the opportunity to plead your case to an administrative law judge. If you are successful the automatic suspension will be canceled. However, these hearings are difficult to win because the burden by the state is so low. The State only needs to prove that there was probable cause for the stop and for the arrest.
ALR hearings are recommended because, at the very least, it will give you an opportunity to delay license suspension and allow you time to make necessary arrangements. Your license will remain active until after the ALR hearing which can take a few months to get scheduled.
2. ODL (Occupational Driver's License)
If you are not successful in an ALR hearing you may petition a county court where you reside or where the arrest was made to grant an ODL. The court may grant you the right to drive for work-related purposes. You must prove the need to drive despite having a suspended license. You will be required to purchase special insurance and possibly an interlock device.
3. Criminal charges
A DWI charge can stay on your record for the rest of your life. It can incur at least a fine of $2,000 and/or incarceration for 180 days. The consequences can be more severe if your blood alcohol level was above a .15 or if you have prior convictions. There are many factors that will determine a just resolution to a DWI charge. There are also many options you will have. Naturally, you have the right to fight your case and go to trial. But there are also many options that you may have if you choose to plead guilty. The best choice is to acquire experienced representation.
All things considered, it is important to seek an experienced attorney to help you in all phases described. At my office, you will have direct contact with me not just my staff. Call for a free consultation and trust us to protect your rights!