DWI Blog

Driver’s License Suspension

Drivers License Suspension as a Result of a DWI/DUI Offense:

When a driver is arrested s/he is supposed to be given a choice of a providing a breath or blood alcohol content (BAC) level test. An automatic suspension can take place if any one of the following occurs:

(1) A test indicates BAC higher than .08 of blood-alcohol or more, or

(2) a blood or urine sample is taken for later analysis, or

(3) the individual refuses to submit to breath or blood alcohol content (BAC) level test.

During the above mentioned scenarios, the driver’s license is usually immediately confiscated by the police officer (unless it is an out-of-state license) and s/he is issued a pink sheet of paper. This paper serves as (1) a formal notice of immediate license suspended, (2) a temporary license valid for 30 days and (3) a technical explanation of the laws and procedures involved. You have 15 days from the date of the offense to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing. If this is done within the15-day period, the temporary license “pink paper” is valid until the ALR Judge takes formal action at the hearing. This ALR suspension is based upon the so-called “implied consent” laws: any person driving is “presumed” to imply consent to a breath or blood alcohol content (BAC) level test if s/he is suspected of DWI/DUI.

If this is a first DWI offense, the license can be suspended for 90 days to 1 year.

A 2nd or more DWI offense within 10 years or a 1st DWI offense with a BAC over .15 carries a Driver’s License suspension of 180 days up to 2 years.

It would certainly seem, however, that the procedure violates the U.S. Constitution. First, there appears to be a presumption of guilt and lack of due process: the officer is judge, jury and executioner. Secondly, it would seem to constitute “double jeopardy”: the individual is being charged with a criminal offense and punished (including a license restriction) in court and then is accused in a separate proceeding and punished again with a license suspension. The courts, however, have used strained logic in concluding that one is criminal and the other administrative a license suspension is simply an “administrative sanction”, not a “punishment”. Therefore, it is legal in the state of Texas to have two (2) separate Driver’s License suspensions if you are arrested for a DWI.

Even if your DWI is dismissed or you get an acquittal, you may still have a Driver’s License suspension through the ALR process.

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