Contact the Texas Department of Public Safety and Request an ALR Hearing.
If you refuse to provide a blood or breath specimen after being arrested on suspicion of DWI in Texas, you only have a short window of time, fifteen days, to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearing. At the ALR hearing, a Judge designated by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will hear your case. At this ALR hearing, the DPS judge will decide if there was sufficient probable cause to arrest you on suspicion of DWI. If the judge determines there was probable cause to arrest you, then your license is suspended. The ALR hearing is important because it is your first chance to confront the arresting officer about the reasons behind your arrest. Having an experienced DWI attorney at this hearing will be very helpful. An experienced DWI lawyer will understand how to question the officer correctly. Even if you lose the ALR hearing (which more often than not you will) you still gain valuable information that can help your case later.
If you missed the deadline to request an ALR hearing, contact an attorney or request an attorney be appointed for you.
Even if you missed your chance to have an ALR hearing, you still need to begin defending yourself against the charges as soon as possible. If you are financially unable to hire a lawyer, contact the Indigent Defense Office in your county and tell them you want to apply for a Court appointed lawyer. Once you have a lawyer, you can begin the discovery process. During discovery your lawyer will be allowed to review your file. Your file will contain a copy of the police report, arrest records and most importantly, a video. If you refused to provide a breath specimen, this video will be your best (or possibly your most detrimental) piece of evidence. It is important that your lawyer be hired or appointed early enough in the process to review the tape, discuss the tape with you and decide on a course of action for your case.
Talk with your lawyer about what is in the prosecutor's file and where your case should go
Once your attorney has reviewed the prosecutor's file, sit down with him or her and discuss what was in the file. What did the report say? Was it accurate? If not, tell your attorney where the inaccuracies are in the report. Also, discuss the video. How did you appear on the video? Were you able to follow the officer's commands? How was your voice? Did you slur or was your speech clear? These are the types of factors that need to be looked at in deciding where your case should go. If you look good on the video tape, you will want to discuss the possibility of taking your case to trial. In discussing your trial, ask your attorney about their trial experience; their results at trial and whether they recommend you go to trial. On the other hand, if you impaired on the video tape, discuss with your attorney the options for plea bargaining with the State. Also, make sure that you provide your attorney with any paperwork you receive from the Court.
Obtaining an Occupational License
Your license can end up being suspended following an arrest for DWI if you refuse to provide a breath sample and then either forget to request an ALR hearing or lose your ALR hearing. If you license has been suspended, it is illegal for you to operate a motor vehicle for any reason. That is why you will need to obtain an Occupational Driver's License (ODL). An ODL allows you to legally operate a motor vehicle at certain times of day. In order to obtain an ODL, you need to file a petition requesting an ODL, stating the reasons for needing an ODL, and you must also submit an affidavit of necessity in support of your ODL. Most importantly, you must contact your insurance company and obtain an SR-22 form. An SR-22 is a document you must provide to the Court in order to receive your ODL. Once all this paperwork has been gathered together, it can be submitted to the Court. If you are granted your ODL, you can then legally operate your motor vehicle at the times stated in your ODL.
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