Your Driver’s License Isn’t Actually Automatically Suspended If You Refuse A Breath Test

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

Texas DWI’s have two sides.  There is a criminal side and the administrative side (i.e., the driver’s license suspension.)  Today I’m only discussing the administrative driver’s license suspension side.

Texas has an “implied consent” law.  This means when you got your driver’s license, you implied to the Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) that if an officer ever offered you a breath-test, you would comply.  If you fail to comply – or you do comply and blow over 0.08 – then your driver’s license can be suspended.

What the DPS media blitz omits is that this isn’t automatic.  You have 15 days from the date of arrest to submit an appeal.  The instructions are on the sheet of paper they should have given you when they confiscated your driver’s license.

You are appealing the officer’s decision to ask you to take the breath test and/or the breath test score.  These things can be very legally technical and it is frankly difficult for people to win without lawyers.  These proceedings are generally called ALR’s by lawyers which is short for Administrative Law Review.

ALR’s are done in Collin and Dallas Counties like a deposition in a conference room and most lawyers advise their clients not to attend.  If the ALR Judge determines DPS lost your ALR, then your driver’s license is not suspended.  This happens all the time.

The ALR proceedings run concurrently or parallel to your criminal DWI case.  Sometimes the ALR proceedings take longer and sometimes they’re shorter.  If you win your DWI on the criminal side, the driver’s license suspension can also be negated.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice consult an attorney.

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