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Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program


Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program

Overview

ALR went into effect on January 1, 1995. This program is the administrative process by which the Department suspends the driver licenses of individuals who are arrested for the offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI). Specifically, an individual may be suspended if he/she either refused to submit to a chemical test or provided a specimen with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater. The DPS is also authorized to suspend the driver licenses of minors who commit the offense of driving under the influence (DUI).

The Texas Legislature recently enhanced the program by amending the governing statutes to require that the arresting officer confiscate the offender's Texas driver license upon service of a Notice of Suspension and issue a 40-day temporary permit. In addition, the amendments provided for increased suspension periods, as well as a suspension for individuals who refuse to provide a specimen following an arrest for the offense of boating while intoxicated (BWI).

Mission

The ALR program was designed to suspend the driver licenses of dangerous drivers in a swift and sure manner.

Funding

The ALR program is supported entirely by state funds. To date, no federal funds have been received by DPS to administer the program.

Personnel

The ALR Legal Section consists of 53 employees, including 44 attorneys and 9 support personnel. For staffing purposes the state is divided into six regions, with regional offices located in Austin , Houston , San Antonio , Garland , Fort Worth and Midland . Each region is managed by a Field Supervising Attorney who is responsible to the Director of Legal Staff for the operation of personnel and activities in that region. The program also has satellite offices in Waco , Bryan , Corpus Christi , McAllen , Tyler , Denton , Lubbock , Amarillo and El Paso.

The staff attorneys stationed in each office prepare and prosecute administrative hearings before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). These attorneys also respond to appeals by defendants, which are filed in the County Court at Law in the county of arrest. In addition, the ALR staff occasionally assists with Concealed Handgun and Expunction hearings.

How the Law Works in Texas

Adult Offenders

A law enforcement officer determines that there is a reasonable suspicion for an initial traffic stop of a motorist. After contact with the individual is initiated, the officer develops probable cause to arrest the person for DWI. Specifically, if the officer has reason to believe that the driver is impaired, a set of field sobriety tests may be administered. If the driver performs poorly, the driver is arrested for DWI and transported to the police station.

At the station, the driver is asked to submit to a chemical test to measure his/her alcohol concentration. Usually, the individual is asked to take a breath test, although the officer may request a blood specimen. If the driver refuses to provide a specimen, or provides a specimen with a prohibited alcohol concentration, the officer serves the individual with a Notice of Suspension and confiscates the driver license.

Offenders Under 21 Years of Age

As with adult offenders, a law enforcement officer must have reasonable suspicion to conduct a traffic stop. However, a full custodial arrest is not required for a DUI offense, but is permitted, according to the officer's discretion. Once the officer determines that the individual is under 21 years of age, and has reason to believe that he/she has consumed alcohol, two distinct methods of enforcement are possible.

In less serious cases, the officer will issue the driver a citation of DUI, serve the individual with a Notice of Suspension and confiscate the driver license. The minor will not be placed under arrest and no chemical test will be requested. Alternatively, the officer may proceed with a custodial arrest procedure if he believes that the individual is seriously impaired. Field sobriety tests may be administered and the minor will be arrested (or taken into custody) and transported to the police station. The driver may be asked to submit to a chemical test to measure his/her alcohol concentration. If the minor refuses to provide a specimen or provides a specimen with any detectable amount of alcohol, the officer will issue a citation for DUI, serve the individual with a Notice of Suspension and confiscate the driver license. Of course, the officer may arrest the minor for the more serious offense of DWI if the circumstances warrant such a charge.

Regardless of age, the driver has 15 days from the date the Notice of Suspension is served to request a hearing. If no hearing is requested, the suspension automatically goes into effect on the 40th day after notice was served. If the individual requests a hearing, the temporary driving permit remains in effect until the date of the final decision of the administrative law judge. The driver is required to pay a fee of $125 to reinstate the license after the suspension period expires.

Hearing Procedures

The ALR hearing is conducted at a location designated by SOAH in either the county of arrest (if the arrest occurred in a county with a population in excess of 300,000) or within 75 miles of the county seat of the county of arrest. Alternatively, both parties may agree to hold the hearing by teleconference. The hearing is conducted by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) employed by SOAH and the DPS has the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence. If the judge makes an affirmative finding on all the relevant issues, the license is suspended.

Adult Offenders

If the driver failed the breath or blood test, the ALJ must determine whether (1) the person had an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater while operating a motor vehicle in a public place; and (2) reasonable suspicion to stop or probable cause to arrest the person existed.

If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test, the ALJ must determine whether (1) reasonable suspicion or probable cause existed to stop or arrest the person; (2) probable cause existed to believe that the person was operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated or operating a watercraft powered with an engine having a manufacturer's rating of 50 horsepower or more while intoxicated; (3) the person was placed under arrest by the officer and was requested to submit to the taking of a specimen; and (4) the person refused to submit to the taking of a specimen on request of the officer.

Offenders Under 21 Years of Age

If a chemical test was not requested or if the driver provided a specimen with any detectable amount of alcohol, the ALJ must determine whether: (1) the person is a minor and had any detectable amount of alcohol in the minor's system while operating a motor vehicle in a public place; and (2) whether reasonable suspicion to stop or probable cause to arrest or take the minor into custody existed.

If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test, the ALJ must determine whether; (1) reasonable suspicion or probable cause existed to arrest or take the minor into custody; (2) probable cause existed to believe that the minor was operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated or while having any detectable amount of alcohol in the minor's system or operating a watercraft powered with an engine having a manufacturer's rating of 50 horsepower or above while intoxicated; (3) the minor was placed under arrest or taken into custody and was requested to submit to the taking of a specimen; and (4) the minor refused to submit to the taking of a specimen on request of the officer.

An individual whose license has been suspended following an administrative hearing may appeal the decision rendered by the ALJ. The petition must be filed within thirty days of the decision in the county court in the county of arrest. A properly filed appeal petition stays the suspension for first offenders for up to ninety days.

Periods of Suspension

Penalties for Adults

Refused to provide a specimen following an arrest for an offense prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle or watercraft while intoxicated, while under the influence of alcohol, or while under the influence of a controlled substance:

180 days First offense

2 years - If previously suspended for failing or refusing a specimen test or previously suspended for a DWI, Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter conviction during the 10 years preceding the date of arrest.

Provided a specimen with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater, following an arrest for an offense under Section 49.04, 49.07, or 49.08, Penal Code, involving the operation of a motor vehicle:

90 days First offense

1 year - If previously suspended for failing or refusing a specimen test or previously suspended for a DWI, Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter conviction during the 10 years preceding the date of arrest.

Penalties for Offenders Under 21 Years of Age

Refused to provide a specimen following an arrest for an offense prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle or watercraft while intoxicated, while under the influence of alcohol, or while under the influence of a controlled substance:

180 days First offense

2 years - If previously suspended for failing or refusing a specimen test or previously suspended for a DWI, Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter conviction during the 10 years preceding the date of arrest.

Provided blood or breath specimen with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater, (or any detectable amount of alcohol) or was not requested to provide a specimen following an arrest for an offense under Section 106.041 Alcoholic Beverage Code or Sections 49.04, 49.07, or 49.08, Penal Code, involving the operation of a motor vehicle:

60 days First offense

120 days - If previously convicted of an offense under Section 106.041, Alcoholic Beverage Code or Sections 49.04, 49.07, or 49.08 Penal Code, involving the operation of a motor vehicle

180 days - If previously convicted twice or more of an offense under Section 106.041, Alcoholic Beverage Code or Sections 49.04,

49.07, or 49.08 Penal Code, involving the operation of a motor vehicle.

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KEN GIBSON

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