Driver's License Hearing (ALR)

Driver's License Hearing (ALR)

Hi, I'm Charlie Roadman, Austin criminal defense attorney, and today we're going to talk about your driver's license and the ALR hearing, which stands for administrative license revocation hearing. An ALR hearing is the attempt by the Department of Public Safety, DPS, to suspend your license for one of two reasons, either you blew 0.08 or over, or the blood draw was 0.08 or over, or you reused either one of those requests by the police.

No, the ALR does not affect the criminal case. In other words, there's the prosecutors on your criminal case and then there's the prosecutors for DPS. What happens on either side doesn't matter. They don't care. The criminal attorneys don't care what happens on the ALR and the ALR don't happen over here. Even if your criminal case is dismissed, that doesn't mean your ALR will be dismissed and vice versa. Now, they are connected in that we're talking about the same incident and so sometimes we can learn information on the ALR side that helps us with the criminal case and vice versa.

Okay. This is the timeline for a typical ALR hearing. Now, when you first get arrested, your license is scheduled to be suspended 40 from the date of arrest. Now, the police will have given you a temporary driving permit and so you can drive like normal during that 40 days. Now, the police will have taken your driver's license. That's typically what they do. Hopefully you just had an extra one lying around. That would be great. But if you didn't, you need to go get a new driver's license at DPS. And what you do is you tell them you lost it. They won't get mad. They don't care. Okay. They will give you a little temporary card. And then in 10 days you'll get a new driver's license in the mail. Now, we need that later on in the process for an occupational license, plus it's just crappy not to have a driver's license for everyday stuff.

We have to request an ALR hearing within 15 days from the date of arrest. Once it hits the 16th day, they just say no way. As long as you've hired us before that 15 days is up, we will request the ALR hearing. And what that does is that stops the suspension that was supposed to happen 40 days later. And what it does is it delays that suspension until the hearing date. Now they're going to mail us a new hearing date, which is typically two to three months in the future, and you're still okay to drive during that time. The permit is still good. Now, when we get the hearing date, we are allowed to request a continuance for no particular reason. It's just by law we're allowed to request this delay, which we typically do because as we delay the hearing, maybe the police officer gets fired or quits, or who knows? Typically delay is good for the defense.

We request this hearing. And what that does is it cancels out this first hearing date, and it'll delay it for another two to three months. You'll be able to drive still during that time. And they'll give us a second ALR hearing date. Now what we'll do is before that second hearing date, we will subpoena the officer or officers, depending on if there's one or two. The second hearing date, it can be reset a handful of times for different reasons. For one, the police officers could be in training, or they might be sick or family emergencies, or we might want to delay it for some reason. We don't have the evidence that we want to have or the video. There's a bunch of different reasons that this second hearing date can turn in a third or fourth hearing date, either way you are okay to drive while we're waiting for the hearing.

We will notify you by email of the hearing date with roughly one or two months advanced notice. If it gets rescheduled, we will let you know. Just to reiterate, your license is good until the hearing happens. Now, when the hearing happens, if the officers show up, it's 90% of the time or so we lose, but we should be eligible to get you an occupational license. And we can talk about that. If we win, either the officers didn't show up or we on the merits of the case. We show they didn't have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to arrest you, then there's no ALR suspension on your license. However, it's important to note that that doesn't mean that there absolutely won't be a license suspension because your license can be suspended on the criminal case as well.

Charlie Roadman: (05:21)

This is a copy of the notice of suspension, temporary driving permit that you should have received from the police officer when they took your driver's license. Now, I want you to look at the paragraph that's boxed in, in the middle of this paper. And I'm going to read the last couple sentences or which describe basically what I've just shown you in the timeline. It says, "This permit is valid for 40 days from the date of service," which means the date of arrest. "If you request a hearing, this permit will remain in effect until the judge makes a decision on your case," which is another way of saying until the hearing actually happens.

An ALR hearing involves a judge who works for DPS. And they decide whether the police had reasonable suspicion to stop you and probable cause to arrest you. Now, the way a judge figures that out is through the testimony of the officer and we will have subpoenaed the officer. The officer shows up, gets on the stand, and essentially answers our questions and the prosecutor's questions and the judge listens and decides whether they had enough reasonable suspicion to stop you, which really means a traffic violation or some other legal reason to come in contact with you and then probable cause to arrest you, which really just means do they have some evidence that you were intoxicated?

Charlie Roadman: (07:00)

We request an ALR hearing for a couple reasons. At first, it delays the possible suspension for six to eight months typically. And second, we get a chance to cross examine the officer that arrested you and stopped you. And sometimes we discover some information in this ALR hearing that's helpful on the criminal side.

It is possible to win an ALR hearing. It is unlikely for the main reason is that the police, if they show up, they're basically going to win unless they were really lying about stuff and we can prove it. Now, how do we prove they were lying? Well, if the video shows something significantly different than what they described to the judge, then it's possible to win the hearing. We call that on the merits. Meaning they didn't have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to arrest you. That doesn't happen very often, but the other way you can win it is if they don't show up at all. Now, we subpoena them, which means they're ordered by the judge to show up. If they don't show up, the judge can dismiss the civil case, the driver's license case. They don't dismiss the criminal case, but the judge can dismiss the case against your driver's license. However, sometimes judges give them a few times to show up.

The officers don't show up for an ALR hearing I would about say 15% of the time. They get in trouble if they don't show up, to some degree. They're supposed to show up and so they generally do. Now, there's no way for us to control whether they show up or not, or manipulate it in any way, except for the delay. Because as we delay this out, there's a lot of turnover rate with police officers. They retire. They quit. They get fired. There's all sorts of reasons that the delay improves the chances that they don't show up.

After the hearing is over the judge says, I'll let you know what my decision is in a few days. And we come back to the office and we wait for a fax. The fax will come from the judge. And generally they say, we believe the police officer had reasonable suspicion to stop your client and probable cause to arrest, therefore were suspending their license. Now, once we get that, we start the process generally of getting our clients an occupational license, which will allow them to drive during the period of the suspension. If we lose the ALR hearing, which is likely, then you get to decide whether you want to get an occupational license or not. And we have a whole different video about occupational licenses, so go ahead and watch that and that'll help.