Will I lose My Driver's License?
Denton County DWI Defense Attorney
Before we discuss the possibility of losing your license, let's make the distinction between a driver's license card and the privilege to drive. When a person is arrested for the offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI), the arresting officer will likely take the driver's license card from this individuals.
Many clients mistakenly believe that the mere confiscation of this card means they may not legally drive in Texas. However, the privilege to drive remains even after the card winds up in the officer's pocket. The privilege to drive is an amorphous permission granted by the state of Texas through the Department of Public Safety. The driver's license card is merely proof of this privilege.
Without the ability to drive in Texas, Denton County and the surrounding counties, daily life can become difficult to maintain. Work and family responsibilities are all but impossible when one is forced to rely on public transportation. To most people, the ability to keep their privilege to drive is at least as important as keeping their criminal record clean. Unfortunately, without vigilance on the part of a criminal DWI lawyer, an accused person can easily lose that privilege.
Two Ways to Lose Your Driver's License
There are two ways this can happen. The first is through an Administrative License Revocation (ALR). Texas is an implied consent state. This means that when an individual is granted a license, they consent to the taking of a breath test if requested by an officer. Nonetheless, an officer cannot force someone to blow into a machine and if an accused citizen refuses, DPS is authorized to suspend the privilege to drive for 180 days for a first offender.
Both the refusal to take a breath test and the failure of a breath test authorizes DPS to suspend the driver's license, but despite what many lawyers believe, suspension is not automatic unless the accused citizen fails to contest it. In such a case, the suspension becomes effective 40 days after arrest.The driver's license revocation hearing is a civil proceeding that takes place long before the criminal trial. The prosecution has neither the chance, nor inclination to speak with the officer about the case until it is set for a trial or suppression.
At the ALR hearing, the criminal defense attorney can:
- Request the presence of the officer
- Place him or her under oath
- Cross-examine on specific facts that impacted on his decision to arrest his client for DWI
On more than one occasion, we have been able to take the transcript of the hearing to the Criminal Court and convince the prosecution to dismiss the charges. Without fighting the driver's license suspension, this opportunity would have been lost.
The second way an accused person can lose his or her driver's license is somewhat simpler. In addition to an Administrative License Revocation, an accused person can lose their driver's license upon final conviction of DWI. This means that if a person is convicted of DWI and the sentence isn't probated, the court must order a suspension of that individual's driver's license from anywhere between 90 days and 1 year. Most people prefer probation to a straight conviction, to avoid the jail time and concurrent driver's license suspension.
Call the Law Offices of Tim Powers
Without a good drunk driving defense in Denton County, Texas, you may lose your driver's license when that might have been prevented. Our ultimate goal is to help you avoid the consequences of a conviction, and we work hard to defend your rights.
Contact our offices today. We can discuss your situation during a free case review and provide you with the information you need moving forward.
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