How does a DWI (in Texas) Affect Your Driving Privileges?

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How does a DWI (in Texas) affect your driving privileges? Obviously, if you pick up a DWI charge in Texas, it’s going to have some effects on your ability to drive or have a driver’s license, but a lot of times I get asked what those effects are or could be. So, I wanted to spend some time this week to talk a little bit about those. So, stay tuned and find out. Happy Friday, everybody. Hope you had a great week. And this week, like I said, I want to talk to you a little bit about the effects that a DWI charge will have on your ability to drive. Now, a big, big, big time caveat at the front end of this video, the actual things that will happen to you in your particular case, depend a ton on a lot of variables that obviously I don’t know about. Your blood alcohol content, what judge you have, what court you’re in, what prosecutor you have, is this your first or second, was there a wreck?

I mean, all kinds of things factor in that can change some of these. So, as I’m going through these, please keep in mind, this is just an overview of things to watch out for. It’s not meant to be, “Hey, this is what you can expect in your case.” This is why having a good criminal defense lawyer that you can talk to is so important, because they need to be the one to really answer this question for you. So, the first thing to know is in terms of a driver’s license suspension, there’s really two suspensions that we’re worried about, or that we’re concerned with in a DWI case. There is a suspension up at the front end of the case, we call that the ALR suspension or Administrative License Revocation suspension, and then there’s a suspension at the back end of the case that can happen that’s called the conviction suspension or the suspension that happens when you’re convicted of a DWI.

Those are two different suspension. So, please keep in mind that just because your license does or doesn’t get suspended in one, doesn’t mean it’s not or it is going to get suspended on the other. They are two different things handled by different courts, different rules apply, the whole nine yards. So, the first, let’s talk about that ALR suspension. When you get charged with a DWI or when you get arrested under suspicion of a DWI, if the officer who’s investigating asks for your consent for a breath, blood draw, something like that and you refuse that consent, then under Texas law, what will happen is the Department of Public Safety, the DPS has the right to immediately suspend your license for some period. Depends again on if you’ve ever had one of these or not, but they will start that process immediately.

Generally speaking, if you refuse consent, you’ll get a form called a DIC-24 that talks about your license is now going to be suspended, you must request a hearing within 15 days to avoid this. That 15 day deadline is crucial. So, it’s imperative that you get a lawyer right away so that we can meet that deadline because we have to request that hearing to delay that suspension. Now, let’s say you don’t refuse to continue, you actually give consent, you allow them to draw your blood or to submit to a breathalyzer exam, your license does not get suspended right away. But what will happen is once those results come back, if they show a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater, that’s when the ALR suspension happens.

Same rules apply, you get notified that your license is being suspended and you can request a hearing. You get 15 days to request that hearing, so, your lawyer needs to request that hearing right away. That’s the ALR suspension. I could go into a ton more detail about what an ALR suspension is, what that hearing looks like, but now’s not the time for that. So, that’s at the front. The other suspension that can happen is at the end, like I said, at the end of the case. It can be that if you are convicted of a DWI, the law says that upon conviction, your license must be suspended for some set number of time, again, depending on your history. That is a suspension that is not done by DPS, but is instead done by the court system.

There are several ways to either get around that suspension or to negotiate around that suspension. So, that’s something specifically you need to talk to your lawyer about is what can we do to avoid that conviction suspension. For example, if it’s your first DWI and you take DWI ed within 90 days of the conviction, you don’t get suspended. Obviously, with the new deferred law where you’re allowed to get deferred in Texas for DWI now, if you get deferred, then your license doesn’t get suspended because it’s not a conviction. So, there’s several ways to work around that. But like I said, at the end of the day, there are two suspensions that happen.

Now, on top of driver’s license suspensions, there’s also likely going to be some restrictions that get placed on your driving privileges. The number one that you’ll probably see at some point is the requirement to install an interlock device or one of those breathalyzers in your car that you have to blow in to get your car started. Now, when that is required and why that’s required and for how long that’s required, again, super, super fact specific, depending on your case, your facts, your judge. Because the judge can require that as a condition of your bond, the judge can require that as a condition of probation. Depending on your BAC, the law might require it as a condition of your probation.

And another way, if your license gets suspended and you try to get an occupational driver’s license, the ODL might require it as a requirement to be able drive at all. So, there are a lot of times when having an interlock is likely going to become necessary. So, again, talk to your lawyer about, do I need one, when will I need one, is there any way to avoid one, all kinds of things. So, the other thing to keep in mind about those interlocks is I know they’re a pain, they’re expensive, they’re embarrassing, but the law has put certain incentives in there that make having an interlock a little bit more attractive. A big one is when you can get a DWI non-disclose, that is your record sealed, so that, that DWI doesn’t pop up on your record. By having an interlock, it greatly reduces the waiting time that you have to wait between the end of your probation and when you can file for that nondisclosure.

And so, there’s a lot of things like that out there that the law has put incentives for, “Hey, we know you don’t necessarily want this interlock device, but if you put it in there the law has something to help you out.” So, again, another long video. I’m going to try to start making these shorter, unless you guys say that you want longer videos based on the stats. It doesn’t seem you do, you kind of stop watching after two minutes. But leave your comments, let me know what you think. If you have questions, I’m getting a ton of calls about my gun rights video, so that’s awesome. So, any videos that you guys see that interest you, you want to talk to me more about, you have specific questions, give me a call. I’m happy to answer anything that I can. And if I can help, I’m happy to do it. So, again, hope you’re having a great week, have a great weekend planned. Stay safe, have fun, enjoy it. And we will see you all back here next week.

Author Bio

James P. Whalen

James P. Whalen is the managing attorney and founder of Whalen Law Office, a Texas criminal defense firm offering personalized legal representation for various federal criminal charges. With a commitment to providing comfort and guidance during challenging times, Mr. Whalen serves as both an attorney and counselor to his clients, helping them navigate their cases while striving to restore normalcy to their lives.

In an inherently unbalanced criminal justice system, Mr. Whalen takes on cases with unwavering dedication. With decades of legal experience, he offers representation across various criminal charges, including white-collar crimes, violent crimes, drug charges, and more. Mr. Whalen’s numerous accolades, including Super Lawyer recognition and board certification in Criminal Appellate Law and Criminal Law, reflect his unwavering commitment to ethical and high-quality legal representation.

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