ALR Hearings: An Important Step for Texas DWI Defendants

Houston, TX ALR Hearings

Understanding Administrative License Revocation Hearings

While getting a DWI is something you’ll generally want to avoid at all costs, if you do find yourself in a situation where you are being charged with driving while intoxicated, an ALR hearing is a crucial step that may help you fight the charges if you were falsely accused, or if proper protocols during the investigation were not followed. ALR hearings, or Administrative License Revocation hearings, is a process that includes suspended license hearings in which the accused can contest the suspension of a drivers license due to a DWI charge or arrest. This process is separate from the criminal hearing and proceedings for the DWI charge. ALR hearings are for the most part exclusive to Texas.

Benefits of Requesting a Houston ALR Hearing

There are a few benefits of requesting an ALR hearing, though you must request one within 15 days after your arrest, or else your right to an ALR hearing will be waived and your license will be suspended for 40 days from the date of arrest. It is important to note that while you can try to file the request yourself, to ensure the request is submitted within those first 15 days it is highly recommended that you hire an aggressive DWI attorney for ALR hearings to handle the request for you.

The ALR hearing has two main benefits.

First, your license will not be suspended until the Administrative Law Judge hears your case. Once the ALJ makes a ruling on the ALR hearing, either they will determine the DWI was legitimate and proceedings will continue as normal, or due to improper procedure or other circumstances, the license will not be suspended.

The second benefit is that your attorney will be able to ask the involved officers about the arrest on the record, and due to the more informal nature of ALR hearings, the officers likely will offer more information than they would normally in the criminal trial. It is important to note what while some criminal cases for DWI have been dismissed on the basis of the result of the ALR hearings, these are two separate hearings and a favorable ALR hearing does not guarantee the criminal charges will also be dropped.

The DWI (Criminal Case) Can Be Affected

The questioning of the officer under oath at the hearing can provide very useful information for the upcoming criminal proceeding as well. First, the officer’s statement in the ALR hearing can be used in the criminal hearing. If the officer changes his story, or can not remember specific details of the arrest, his statement from the ALR hearing can be used in order to either discount his testimony or refresh his recollection. Second, the testimony allows some insight as to what evidence the prosecution might have against you in the criminal proceedings, and can help your attorney strategize for the criminal hearing. The state is required to provide the evidence they have against you that will benefit them in the criminal prosecution when in the ALR hearing. This also allows your attorney time to perform further investigation regarding the evidence.

Caselaw Review

State of Texas V. Montgomery

For example, in State v. Montgomery (1998), Montgomery was charged with a DWI after being stopped while exiting a nightclub. After further investigation of testimony during the ALR hearing, it was found that the stop was made without any probably cause or suspicion, and a motion was made to suppress all evidence and testimony gained as a result of the stop, as the evidence was gained due to an illegal stop, arrest and detention. The DPS attempted to continue suit for the criminal charges, but as the evidence proving as such was suppressed and no longer valid, the case was made that continued pursuit of the criminal charges in light of this would be denial of due process and subject to double jeopardy, or being brought to trial for a crime in which one was already proven innocent of. The judge agreed with this motion and dismissed the case.

In order for your license to be suspended in an ALR hearing, it must be proven that the DWI stop and arrest was valid according to the preponderance of evidence. The standards for this are generally much lower than for the criminal portion of the DWI proceedings as well. If DPS, the prosecuting agent in ALR hearings, is unable to validate that the DWI stop was done with just cause, or was performed properly, it is possible for your license to not be suspended. If the facts show that the stop was in fact valid, your license can be suspended anywhere between 90 days and 2 years.

While the case of State v. Montgomery ended up dismissing both the DWI suspension as well as the criminal charges, the results of these hearings are separate, and very heavily depend on the facts of the case. You should never assume the ALR case dismissal will result in the dismissal of the criminal proceedings, and always hire a DWI attorney.

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DWI Lawyers

Finding a top Houston DWI Lawyer can be a real hassle if you don’t understand the lay of the land – as far as the Houston criminal defense bar is concerned. The Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office are often seen as relentless in their pursuit of drunk drivers. This is understandable. Between street racers, alcoholics, big ass trucks, and foreigners, it’s easy to see why people are killed on a regular basis while traveling on Houston’s freeways.

Top DWI Lawyers In Houston, TX

Finding the right DWI defense attorney is a matter of immense import if you’ve been accused of drunk driving in Houston, TX. Harris County, TX prosecutors are relentless when it comes to licking their chops after getting you the heaviest sentence they can extrude from the court. You have hope. Talk with one of the lawyers in the map listed.

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Top 3 Ways to Avoid Drunk Drivers on the Road

According to the CDC, someone is killed as a result of alcohol-impaired driving every 50 minutes or so. These statistics perfectly illustrate the numbers of drunk drivers on the roads today. While drunk drivers are a danger to themselves, you are also at risk when using the same road as a person who driving driving or DWI. Below are tips on how to avoid drunk drivers while limited your exposure to the risk they pose.

Buckle Your Seatbelt

The first defense against drunk drivers is using your seatbelt. If you happen to see an impaired driver ahead of you, make sure that everyone in your car is buckled up in case there is a crash. Furthermore, having your seatbelt on can reduce injuries in the unfortunate event that you or a loved one is in a vehicle that’s involved in a wreck.

Keep a Generous Following Distance

Staying a safe distance away from drivers you suspect are drunk is a good strategy to avoid intoxicated drivers on the road in Houston. Never try to overtake the motorist who is driving while intoxicated. Instead, keep a generous following distance between you and the driver so that you have an eye on his or her erratic behavior. Apart from just keeping your distance, be your brother’s keeper and call local law enforcement to come in and pull the driver off the road. After all, an arrested for drunk driving is one thing, but criminal charges related to intoxication manslaughter is a different matter altogether.

Avoid Late Driving

During the holiday season, celebrations usually involve people becoming intoxicated before driving home late at night. Therefore, your best remedy is staying at home in the evenings to avoid running into such individuals on the road. If possible, stay off the roads on drinking holidays and you will have the best chance of avoiding an encounter with a drunk driving. Most Texas DWI litigation trial lawyers in Houston will agree with this.

A drunk driver can ruin your day and even cause you to be hospitalized for a long time. They can even kill you. Therefore, you need to stay safe by watching out for such drivers and doing everything possible to avoid them. Even if you’re successful at avoiding a collision with an impaired motorist, do the public a favor and alert local law enforcement of their presence. Due to the nature and dangers posed by drunk drivers in Houston, we all have a responsibility to do our part to keep our roads safe.

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When a Traffic Ticket Becomes a Felony Evasion Charge

Talk about dumb criminals. In Houston this weekend, Independence Day weekend, a man was arrested and charged by the Houston Police Department for felony evading arrest. The situation, as I have come to understand it, is based on nothing more than a poor individual making a poor decision.

HOUSTON – Houston police said a man who was not drunk led officers on a chase because he was afraid of getting a DWI charge.
The chase happened late Tuesday on Harwin at Rogerdale. An officer tried to stop a white car for a traffic violation, but the suspect refused to pull over. He led police northbound on Beltway 8 to Richmond where he finally stopped.

Police said the car was not stolen, and the driver had no warrants.

The man allegedly told officers he had a couple of drinks, so he was afraid of getting arrested. Officers said the man was sober, however. He now faces a felony evading charge.  Source

Basically what had happened was a gentleman had had a few drinks, took to the roads in his car, made a minor traffic violation which spurred the attention of the Houston Police Department, after which the Houston Police Department attempted to conduct a routine traffic stop to issue a traffic citation, resulting in the driver panicking and evading arrest.

What would have been a minor traffic violation, or, at worst, a first-time misdemeanor DWI offense, is now a felony criminal offense set for hearing at the Harris County criminal court in downtown Houston on Franklin Street.

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