Texas DWI License Suspension: An Overview

If you’ve been arrested in Texas for driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, you are likely worried about losing your driving privileges. Every person charged with DWI in Texas faces an automatic ALR suspension of their driver’s license, which takes effect approximately 40 days from the date of arrest.

So, while the threat to your ability to drive is genuine, it’s important to understand that there is an administrative process before your license suspension takes effect. You can still drive legally after your arrest. However, if you do not request a hearing within 15 days, your license will be automatically suspended approximately 40 days from the arrest date.

The ALR hearing is your only opportunity to contest this suspension. During this process, with the assistance of an experienced DWI defense attorney, you may have opportunities to contest the suspension or potentially reduce its duration.

How Long is a DWI License Suspension in Texas?

The length of license suspension ranges from three months to one year for a first-offense DWI in Texas.

If this is your second offense or third DWI offense, and depending on all the factors in your case, the suspension period could be from six months to as long as two years.

Factors That Influence DWI License Suspension

Besides previous DWIs, factors that can increase the DWI license suspension period include:

  • Whether you consented or refused to provide a breath or blood sample
  • Your specific BAC level—especially a BAC of 0.15% or higher
  • If there was an open container of alcohol in the car
  • If there was a child passenger in the car, which is a person under 15 years of age
  • If there was a DWI injury accident or fatal accident due to driving while intoxicated

In addition to longer DWI license penalty periods, the presence of any of these factors will increase the criminal sentences handed down.

Implied Consent in Texas & Test Refusal

Every driver in Texas who is pulled over for suspected DWI has given “implied consent” under the law to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test to determine intoxication levels. If you refuse to take a test, you could lose your driving privileges for up to two years.

However, remember that field sobriety tests are voluntary. You cannot be penalized for refusing to take them. Field sobriety tests include when an officer asks you to walk a straight line, stand on one leg, recite the alphabet, or touch your finger to your nose.

DWI Administrative License Suspension Process in Texas

There are both criminal and civil punishments for those convicted of driving while intoxicated. Criminal penalties include hefty fines and possible jail time. Suspension of your driver’s license is a civil penalty, which the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) oversees in a process called the Administrative License Revocation Program or ALR.

DWI License Suspension if You Take a BAC Test

If you agreed to take a blood or breath test and were above the legal limit, you will be issued a suspension notice as soon as your results are known. You then have 20 days from when the notice was mailed to you to request a hearing to contest the suspension. If you don’t request a hearing, the suspension will go into effect 40 days after you receive notice.

DWI Suspension if You Refused Test

If you refuse the test when pulled over, the arresting officer will typically take your license and issue you a suspension notice. You then have 15 days to ask for a hearing. The suspension becomes effective 40 days after your arrest if you don’t.

What Happens at the Administrative Suspension Hearing

If your request for a hearing is granted, an administrative law judge will listen to arguments and look at evidence from your attorney and the DPS. They will then determine whether they believe the DPS proved its case (that there was probable cause that you committed DWI), and they will decide to suspend your license.

Our Dallas DWI license suspension attorney can represent you in the hearing to provide you with the best chance for a decision to go in your favor. And if the judge decides to suspend your license, there is still a chance to appeal that we will advise you about.

Your Options for DWI Driving Privileges

There are options for regaining limited driving privileges after a DWI. You may qualify for an occupational or essential need license to drive to work, school, or to complete “essential” household duties. In some situations, individuals may be required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles before an occupation license is granted.

An attorney can help you draft the petition for this restricted license to make sure all necessary information is included.

The Role of an Attorney in DWI License Suspensions

Regarding DWI license suspension, a skilled attorney can significantly increase your chances of a better outcome. We will argue before the administrative law court to have your license suspension thrown out. Or if that is not possible, we will build a defense to make the suspension as short as possible.

Once you are eligible to reinstate your license, we will guide you through that process. The Law Office of Mike Howard has extensive experience helping individuals arrested for DWI in Texas and their families understand and successfully navigate the criminal and civil law processes, including when it comes to driver’s license suspensions.

Our Promise to All Our Clients

  • A clear explanation of your case and your legal options.
  • Your calls & messages are returned within one business day.
  • We’re transparent and upfront about our pricing.
  • We’ll craft a unique defense for your circumstances.
  • We know how to protect your rights.

Successful Outcomes in DWI Cases

We are proud of the results we have achieved for valued clients in DWI cases. Here are a couple of

matters that exemplify our strategic approach toward getting successful outcomes:

First DWI – Reduced & Probation

After taking over a case from another lawyer that had been dragging on in just one court setting, we were able to reduce our client’s DWI charge and get him deferred probation.

Second DWI – Dismissed

Our client was a combat veteran who suffered from trauma and had a previous DWI. He had attended a pretrial diversion program for that DWI, so he was not eligible again. But we convinced the prosecutor to make an exception, and the case was dismissed.

More Results

Please visit our criminal defense resource center for more information about your rights and the legal process regarding Texas DWI charges.

DWI License Suspension FAQ’s

How can I avoid license suspension after a DWI in Dallas?

Hiring a skilled DWI defense attorney can improve your chances of avoiding license suspension. Your attorney will assist you in defending you against criminal charges and stand up for you in the ARL hearing process.

Will my insurance go up after a DWI and license suspension?

Your car insurance will likely increase if you are convicted of DWI and your license is suspended. Additionally, you may be required to file an SR-22 with the Texas Department of Public Safety, a supplemental vehicle insurance certificate that can further impact your insurance premiums. To avoid these outcomes, working with an experienced Dallas DWI lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process and potentially mitigate the consequences is crucial.

What if I’m charged with driving on a suspended license?

If your license is suspended for DWI and you drive anyway, you will face additional penalties if caught. Additional punishments may include more fines, a longer suspension period, and potentially several days in jail. Do not take the chance. Our law firm can help you petition for a restricted license so you can get to work or school and back and run necessary errands.

Will a prior DUI in another state count toward my Texas license suspension?

It depends on the details of the offense and how it compares to Texas law. We will examine your past offense and advise you about your options for reducing its effects on your current case.

Start With a Case Evaluation

Together, we can get your life back.

When you’re ready to take the next steps, attorney Mike Howard will discuss your situation and design a plan to deal with a Dallas DWI license suspension. Trust our experience, empathy, and ability to help put charges behind you. Reach out to a Dallas criminal defense attorney today.

Get Your 30 Minute Case Evaluation.

(214) 296-2221

Located in the Element Towers West Building at 3010 LBJ Freeway, Dallas, Texas, attorney Mike Howard handles criminal cases across Dallas, Collin, Denton, and Tarrant Counties at the state level and in the Northern and Eastern Districts at the federal level.