How Long Is Your License Suspended for DUI?
After being stopped for driving while drunk in Texas, an individual could face two different types of driver's license suspensions. This covers both the administrative license suspension generated by their arrest and the criminal penalties associated with a DWI conviction. After a DWI conviction and arrest, even a first-time offender could face up to two years without a driver's license.
Administrative License Revocation (ALR)
If someone is stopped by the police, and they suspect the individual of driving while intoxicated, they will ask the individual to take a breath or blood test. There are many ways to get your DUI blood test results. However, if they fail this test or refuse to take it, the person's license will automatically be revoked (ALR).
Unless they request a hearing, this ALR, which is regulated by the Texas Department of Public Safety, takes effect 40 days after the arrest. Fort Worth DWI attorneys can request this hearing on an individual's behalf if they contact us about their case within 15 days after the arrest.
An individual could lose their driver's license for as little as 90 days or as long as two years, depending on whether they failed the testing or refused to take it, and whether they have any past violations.
If an individual requests an ALR hearing promptly, any potential license suspension is put on hold until the ALR hearing is completed—regardless of whether the hearing is scheduled longer than 40 days on the temporary driving permit.
Fortunately, a person has the right to a hearing to appeal their driver's license suspension before it takes effect. These hearings are complex, and they follow a stricter set of procedural regulations than a criminal case. However, if an individual has an experienced DWI board-certified attorney on their side, they may be able to keep their occupational driver license instead of it being suspended.
What Happens to Your Driver's License After a DWI?
If someone is caught on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, their driver's license may be suspended immediately for one of two reasons:
Having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher in their breath,
or refusing to take a breath or blood test.
The implied consent statute only applies in Texas after someone is arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. A law enforcement officer is required to confiscate a person's Texas driver's license if they refuse or fail the test.
Furthermore, the only exception is if a person has had their blood drawn and the testing hasn't been completed right away. If their blood alcohol concentration was 0.08 or higher, they will receive a written notice of license suspension mailed to the last address listed on the individual's driver's license. Also, if their address is out of date, they must update it immediately with the Texas Department of Public Safety at one of its regional offices.
Notice of Suspension Period as Temporary Driver's License
However, receiving a Notice of Suspension does not mean an individual can no longer drive. A pink slip, also known as a Notice of Suspension, will be given to the individual by the arresting officer. The objective of that notice has two purposes.
A Notice of Suspension, for starters, notifies the driver of their rights in relation to their suspended driver's license. It specifies the time limit for requesting a formal hearing on their suspension. Secondly, the driver's Notice of Suspension serves as a temporary driver's license that they can use right after their DWI arrest.
An individual's temporary driving privileges are only valid for 40 days after they get their Notice of Suspension. The purpose of these interim licenses is to give them time to settle their affairs and find alternative modes of transportation. While other forms of driving privileges may be obtained during the individual's license suspension, this 40-day license has a definite end date.
Suspension of a Driver's License Begins After 40 Days
Unless a person timely requested an ALR hearing to appeal their Texas license suspension, their DWI suspension will begin immediately when the 40 days are up. A person only has 15 days to obtain a hearing from the date they get the Notice of Suspension. If they do not request a hearing within 15 days, their suspension will begin when the 40-day period has expired.
One of the reasons why an individual needs to start looking for a good DWI lawyer as soon as they've been caught is that they only have a limited amount of time to act on their suspension.
Driver's License Suspension and DWI Conviction
A person might lose their license for years if they are convicted of a DWI. The duration of the individual's sentence is determined by whether they have any prior DUI convictions.
If they are convicted of DWI for the first time, their license will be suspended for 90 days to one year.
However, their license will be suspended for 180 days to two years if the person is convicted of a second DWI.
A third DWI, or one that results in an injury accident or death, can result in a two-year mandatory license suspension. The length of an individual's driver's license suspension may also be affected by the following factors:
A high blood alcohol concentration
Whether they had a minor under 15 in the car
The individual caused an accident while intoxicated
Other than having your license suspended, getting jail time is also a concern. Learn about how likely jail time is for a first-time DUI.
Filing a Petition for Review
Essentially, a petition for review can be filed by drivers who refuse to take a breathalyzer test. This petition must be filed through criminal court proceedings within 30 days. The prosecutor, in this case, is the Department of Revenue. An SIS (suspended imposition of sentence) agreement may be issued to a first-time offender, which means that the individual admits to the DWI without being convicted and losing their license.
To achieve an agreement, the defendant must agree to a variety of conditions, including not drinking for one to two years, avoiding places where alcohol is served, and abiding by all laws for two years.
Seeking Legal Counsel
Texas takes DWI fines very seriously. An individual may be forced to live without their license for months or perhaps a year if they are guilty of a DWI. If a person wants to file a petition for review or get their restricted driving privileges lifted, they should contact Sparks Law Firm for a free consultation.