Driver’s License Suspension Hearing
A person in Bexar County who takes a chemical test for drunk driving and receives a result of a BAC of .08 or higher or one who exercises his or her constitutional right to refuse a DWI test is subject to an automatic license suspension. The driver will lose his or her license and be subject to further criminal sanctions if found to be driving will the license is suspended.
The driver is entitled to a hearing in which he or she can be represented by an attorney to challenge the arrest and suspension. The result may be that the driver is able to keep his or her license. However, the window to request such a hearing is short — only 15 days from formal notice.
San Antonio DWI License Suspension Lawyer
At Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr, our dedicated attorneys assist clients with all elements of their DWI defense, including representing them in license suspension hearings. We have more than four decades of experience representing clients in complicated criminal proceedings in San Antonio and in Bexar County.
However, your ability to keep your license may depend on how quickly you contact us. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we are able to being work on your defense, and the better chance we have of preserving your license. Call us today at (210) 226-1463 for a free consultation.
Information on Formal License Hearings
- What Happens to My License if I Fail or Refuse a DWI Test?
- Juvenile DWI License Suspension
- How Can I fight My License Suspension?
In a traffic stop in which police suspect the driver of being intoxicated, the officer will typically ask the driver to take a chemical test. This is usually a breath test or a blood test. In most cases, the driver submits to the test.
Under Texas Penal Code sec. 49.01(2)(B), a person is considered intoxicated if he or she has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. This is often called “per se” intoxication, because it is when a person is legally drunk regardless of his or her actual capacity. For example, a driver still may be able to function, but he or she still would legally be considered intoxicated.
If a driver takes a test and the result is 0.08 or higher, the driver’s license is suspended for 90 days for a first offense and a year if the driver has a prior DWI or DWI-related conviction in the past 10 years. The suspension is a civil action, separate from any criminal matters that may arise.
It is your right to refuse a chemical test. Doing so may deny critical evidence to prosecutors. However, Texas’s “implied consent” law subjects anyone who refuses a test to civil penalties in the form of license suspension.
For a refusal, your license could be suspended for 180 days. If you have previously refused a test or have a prior conviction for a DWI or DWI-related offense in the past 10 years, your license may be suspended for up to two years.
When a person under the age of 21 is arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she also could face a driver’s license suspension, according to Texas law. However, this is considered a criminal penalty, rather than a civil penalty.
The minor also is subject to an automatic administrative license suspension, which is a civil penalty, for at least 60 days if he or she has any detectable amount of alcohol in their system, even if that person agrees to alcohol testing, according to the Texas Transportation Code § 524.022.
If the minor previously has been convicted of a DWI offense, his or her license will be suspended for 120 days. If the minor has been convicted of two or more alcohol related offenses, their license will be suspended for a period of 180 days.
If a person under the age of 21 refuses to submit to chemical testing of his or her blood or breath alcohol concentration, they are subject to the same license suspensions as drivers over age 21. A first refusal is an automatic suspension for 180 days. A second or subsequent refusal within 10 years will lead to an automatic suspension for two years.
If you do nothing, your license will be suspended for the requisite period of time. However, you are entitled to request a hearing within 15 days of formal notice. Formal notice may be considered given upon test refusal, so it is best to act now if you have refused or failed a test.
The hearing is conducted by an administrative law judge. At a hearing for refusal, the judge will determine, under Texas Transportation Code sec. 724.042, whether:
- Reasonable suspicion or probable cause existed to make a traffic stop;
- Probable cause existed that the person was operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated;
- The person was arrested and asked to submit to a test; and
- The person refused the test.
Under Texas Transportation Code sec. 524.035, the judge in a case involving test failure will determine whether:
- The driver had a BAC of 0.08 or more while operating a motor vehicle in a public place;
- Reasonable suspicion existed to stop; and
- Probable cause existed to arrest.
At the hearing, your lawyer can contest any and all of these issues. Reasonable suspicion and probable cause must be an articulable set of facts. They cannot consist of vague suggestions or beliefs. If the judge finds these factors did not exist, you will be able to receive your license back.
Finding the Best San Antonio Attorney for an Administrative Driver’s License Suspension Hearing
At Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr, we have more than four decades of experience in Bexar County and Texas representing clients on some of the most challenging cases. We can take on your DWI case, including any license suspension hearing. However, you must act quickly to preserve your license. Call us today at (210) 226-1463. We do not charge for a telephone consultation.