Administrative License Revocation in Texas


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When a person is charged with certain offenses in Texas such as driving or boating while intoxicated, he or she may have his or her driverís license suspended or revoked through an administrative process. This process is independent of any separate criminal prosecution on the matter.

It is not uncommon for a person to lose his or her driving privileges before he or she has even been found guilty of the charges that a prosecutor pursues. In some cases, driving privileges are lost before charges are even filed.

Basics of Administrative License Revocation

If a person is arrested for suspected DWI or refuses a required test, the law enforcement officer at the scene may seize the defendantís drivers license revocation. He or she may provide the defendant with immediate notice of administrative license revocation. The law enforcement officer then gives the defendant a temporary license. This consequence is considered an automatic sanction. The driver has a limited amount of time to request a hearing before having his or her driving privileges immediately suspended or revoked.

Reasons Driverís License can be Suspended or Revoked

A personís driverís license can be suspended or revoked for a number of reasons. If he or she is found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more while driving, he or she can lose have his or her driverís license suspended for between 90 days and two years.

If you are pulled over for suspected drunk driving and you refuse a breath, urine or blood test after being arrested for DWI, you can lose your driving privileges for between 90 days to two years. Texas has an implied consent law for such testing that requires drivers to submit to such tests when a police officer reasonably suspects a driver is driving while impaired.
Additionally, a person who is boating and suspected to be operating the watercraft while intoxicated can lose driving privileges. He or she can lose privileges for refusing to submit to testing while operating a watercraft with an engine rated at 50 horsepower or greater.

Administrative License Revocation Hearing

After a driver receives a temporary license and notice of administrative license revocation, the driver only has 15 days to request a hearing regarding the loss of driving privileges. If the driver misses this important deadline, his or her driving privileges can be affected. A DWI lawyer can provide assistance with this process.

After the defendant requests an administrative hearing, he or she receives a scheduling letter from the Texas Department of Public Safety. This letter has critical information, including when and where the hearing will occur. This hearing can be scheduled up to 120 days from the date of issuance of the notice letter.

The administrative hearing is held in front of an administrative law judge. Before the hearing, the defendant has a right to discover certain information. This opportunity allows the defendant to learn about the administrative case against him or her. He or she can gain insight about the nature of the possible administrative consequences against him or her. Discovery can help the defendant and his or her legal counsel determine what arguments may be possible to defend against suspension or revocation. This information can further assist the defendant during his or her criminal trial for the underlying offense.

During this hearing, the defendant through his or her lawyer can challenge the suspension of his or her driverís license. The hearing also allows the defendant to request an occupational license if his or her driverís license is suspended. If this request is granted, the defendant will have some driving privileges, such as being able to drive to work and school.
At the hearing, the defendantís legal counsel can present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. After the hearing, the administrative law judge renders a decision. If the decision is against the defendant, the defendant has a right to appeal this decision.

Reinstating Driving Privileges

If the driver loses his or her driving privileges as part of the administrative process, he or she must pay a reinstatement fee to have his or her driving privileges reinstated. Additionally, the defendant must submit a specific form to reinstate privileges.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer for Assistance

If you would like to contest an automatic suspension or revocation of your driving privileges, it is important to contact an experienced lawyer for assistance. A lawyer can explain the process to you and take immediate steps to protect your driving privileges and your rights.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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