Administrative License Revocation is often a waiting game. ALR is short for Administrative License Revocation. People get involved in this administrative process after they are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence of alcohol as a minor (DUI).
ALR adminstrative court is where aggressive lawyers fight to protect a client’s drivers license from suspension. These lawyers provide this important service as part of their DWI defense, especially in Bryan-College Station. People must know that strict time limits apply in the ALR process. From the time a client is given notice of the Department’s intent to suspend their license, they generally have 15 calendar days to request a hearing. If the hearing is not requested on time, the person’s license will be suspended automatically on the 40th day after receiving notice. A bad result, indeed.
Last week was a good one for our Firm in Administrative License Revocation court. Several College Station and Bryan police officers were subpoenaed to testify. Most provided helpful information during their cross-examination. The important benefits of the ALR process are the liberal discovery and information gathering rules. Prior to the ALR hearing, the officer’s written reports can be obtained. We use these to help plan our strategy for defending the ALR hearing (and any subsequent Bryan-College Station DWI trial, in fact). During the ALR hearing the officer can be tied-down to their report and questioned about their purported expertise. Questions about the client’s driving can narrow the reasonable suspicion cited by the officer as legal authority to stop the client. Further, questions can be used to challenge their probable cause for arresting the client and later used to impeach their testimony at jury trial.
Additionally, the ALR process offers us opportunity to cross-examine and depose the most important witness in a DWI case . . . the arresting police officer. ALR hearings are also important since the arresting officer is rarely prepared and readied to testify by the Department of Public Safety prosecuting lawyer. Consequently, the cop is often caught “flat-footed” and unprepared. Following the hearing a certified transcription of the hearing is obtained and used to question the officer during the later DWI trial by jury.
There are many reasons to conduct an aggressive ALR defense in Bryan-College Station. Most importantly, we want to prepare everything possible to protect our client’s drivers license. Second, we want important written information that will help us plan our later DWI-DUI defense. And third, getting the arresting officer tied-down to their report, while being unprepared to testify, can be the difference between a dismissal (or a charge reduction) and a trial.
Stephen Gustitis is a criminal defense lawyer in Bryan-College Station. He is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is also a husband, father, and retired amateur bicycle racer.