- Former Prosecutor.
- Former Counsel for the Police Union.
- Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist.
- “…one of the outstanding criminal defense attorneys in Houston…”-Houston Chronicle.
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- Founding Member DUI Defense Lawyers Association.
If your license has or may be suspended as a result of a DWI our attorneys can help you. Our Houston License Suspension Attorney has 15 days from the date of the arrest to request a hearing on your license. Time is of the essence if you want to keep your license from being suspended. Contact our Houston DWI license attorneys now to learn more.
DWI License Suspensions
As DWI penalties have stiffened, so to have license suspensions related to DWI arrests. Attempting to deter people from driving while intoxicated, legislatures have passed a number of driving license related laws. Refusing to provide a breath or blood test and being convicted of DWI can independently trigger license suspensions.
The roadmap regarding license suspensions can be tricky. I have witnessed seasoned attorneys and judges get it wrong. Below are some charts to help give you guidance. If you have any questions, call your DWI attorney or call a Houston License Suspension Attorney at the Adamo & Adamo Law Firm.
If you have been arrested for DWI, there are two things in play. One road is the Administrative License Revocation Hearing (ALR) and relates to whether you refused or failed a breath or blood test. The other road is the DWI itself. They take place in different courts, with different judges, and different prosecutors. The elements of proof are different and the burden of proof are different. Lastly, if your license is suspended, you may be eligible for an occupational driver’s license.
Road 1: The ALR
While many people feel if they refuse to submit to a breath or blood test their license will be suspended, that is not entirely true. If you have been arrested for DWI, and either refused to provide or provided and failed a breath or blood test you are entitled to a hearing. This hearing is known as an administrative license revocation hearing (ALR). A hearing should always be requested for two reasons: 1) If a properly subpoenaed officer fails to show up for the hearing, your license will not be suspended and 2) if a properly subpoenaed officer shows up for the hearing it is a great opportunity to cross-examine the officer. Most likely, you will have little to do with the ALR hearing. It is important to know, that while waiting for the ALR hearing, your license is not suspended. You can drive. The DIC-25 form (which should have been given to you by the arresting officer) acts as your temporary driver’s license.
Potential License Suspensions Related to ALR
|Type||No Prior Contact||Prior Contact w/in 10 years|
|Adult Refusal||180 days||2 years|
|Adult Failure||90 days||1 year|
Note: Prior Contact means a driver’s license suspension from: 1) a previous conviction for an intoxicated offense; 2) a previous refusal to submit to a breath or blood test; or 3) a previous test over 0.08
Potential License Suspensions – ALR Minors (under 21)
|Type||No prior convictions||1 prior conviction||2 prior convictions|
|Minor > 0.08||60 days||120 days||180 days|
|Minor – detectable amount||60 days||120 days||180 days|
Note: a previous deferred adjudication for an alcohol related offense is considered a conviction.
Road 2: The DWI
License Suspension If Convicted of DWI
|First DWI Offense||Straight||90 days – 1 year|
|First DWI Offense||Probation||Can complete DWI education program to keep license from being suspended (not applicable to minors).|
|2nd DWI w/in 10 years||Straight or Probation||180 days – 2 years|
|2nd DWI w/in 5 years||Straight or Probation||1 – 2 years|
|Minor DWI||Probation||90 days + DLD as a condition of probation.|
Note: If this was your first DWI conviction and you are not a minor, you can get credit for any license suspension from the ALR proceedings.
IF YOUR LICENSE IS SUSPENDED BECAUSE OF EITHER AN ALR HEARING OR A DWI CONVICTION YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO AN OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE.
License suspended as a result of ALR – Occupational Driver’s License (ODL)
|Prior Alcohol-related Contact||Waiting Period for ODL|
|No prior contact suspension||None|
|Prior ALR suspension w/in 5 years||90 days|
|Prior DWI convictions w/in 5 years||180 days|
|Minor – No prior DWI/DUI arrest||30 days|
|1 prior conviction||60 days|
|2 prior convictions||Not eligible.|
License suspended as a result of a DWI conviction – Occupational Driver’s License (ODL)
DWI First Offense
|Prior Alcohol Related Contact Type||Waiting Period for ODL|
|No prior contact suspension||None|
|Prior ALR contact (i.e. ALR driver’s license suspension) w/in 5 years||90 days|
|Prior DWI contact w/in 5 years||180 days|
DWI 2nd Offense
|Prior Alcohol Related Contact Type||Waiting Period|
|No prior contact suspensions w/in 5 years||None|
|Prior ALR contact w/in 5 years||90 days|
|Prior DWI contact w/in 5 years||180 days|
|DWI 2nd w/in 5 years||1 year|
As you can see different laws apply depending on whether your license was suspended via an ALR proceeding or a DWI conviction. Knowing the difference can determine whether you are eligible for an occupational license or not.
What is an occupational driver’s license?
This restricted license allows you to drive a non-commercial vehicle up to 12 hours per day, six days per week and is sometimes referred to as an “ODL” or “essential need license.”
If I obtain an occupational, where can I drive?
With an occupational driver’s license, you can legally drive to fulfill your obligations for work, for school, and to perform essential household duties. The last category is fairly broad and can include activities such as grocery shopping, taking your children to school, taking a household member to the doctor, and so forth. You are typically allowed to drive in the county the license was obtained and surrounding counties. Specific counties can be added upon request.
What do I need to obtain for the occupation license?
In most instances you will need (at a minimum):
- A SR-22 (explained below);
- Certified copy of your driving record (Type AR-Certified Abstract Driving Record)
- This can be obtained at: www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/driverrecords.htm
How does an occupational license affect my insurance?
While each insurance company handles matters independently, you will be required to obtain a SR-22 and provide proof of such to the court. The SR-22 is special insurance and required by the State of Texas for issuance of an occupational driver’s license.
Practice Tip: If you try to obtain SR-22 coverage from your auto insurance company, it may raise your rates or even cancel your policy. Also, the high-risk tag will be applied to all drivers and vehicles on the policy. If that is a concern, we can refer you to a company that specializes in providing SR-22 coverage. If you buy an SR-22 from someone other than your existing auto insurance company, be sure to purchase an operator’s policy (ie: non-owner’s policy) to avoid triggering the automatic cancellation clause in your existing insurance.
The court granted the occupational driver’s license, now what?
Once the court has signed the order granting you an occupational driver’s license, we will provide you with two copies. One will be used as your temporary license for the next thirty (30) days. The other copy of the order needs to be:
- Sent immediately to DPS (copy of order);
Address: Safety Responsibility Bureau
Occupational License Section
Texas Department of Public Safety
Austin, TX 78761-5999
When will I get my actual occupational license from DPS?
Once you have completed the steps above, DPS will send you (within 30 days from the date of the order) an official occupational driver’s license.
On September 1, 2015, the provisions of HB 2246 went into effect, which made significant changes in the requirements for an occupational drivers license (“ODL”) issued in connection with a drivers license suspension arising from a conviction for DWI (this bill does not apply to ALR suspensions).
HB 2246 ended “hard” suspensions or waiting periods as a result of a DWI conviction so long as the person obtains an “interlock ODL.”
As of 9/1/15, any person convicted of a DWI offense under Penal Code §§49.04-49.08, where that person’s drivers license will be suspended, may obtain an “ODL” by submitting proof to the court that they “have an ignition interlock device installed on each motor vehicle owned or operated by the person.” It would not require a showing of an “essential need to operate a motor vehicle” as it does in the case of an ALR suspension.
A person whose license is suspended under Penal Code §§49.04-49.08 may then operate a motor vehicle during the period of suspension if the person obtains and uses an interlock for the entire period of the suspension. The applicant must still apply for, and receive, a “Restricted License” from DPS, with a conspicuous interlock designation on the actual restricted license card issued by DPS, within 45 days following the signing of the court order.
Failure to maintain an interlock on every vehicle owned, or operated by him or her, can result in revocation of the “ODL.”
This new bill essentially erases occupational license waiting periods as a result of prior DWI convictions.
DWI Defense & Licenses