To succeed in a DMV hearing and avoid the suspension of your driver’s license, you must ensure that the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) fails to meet its burden of proof that you drove while intoxicated. However, due to the challenges in this process, never tackle this legal fight alone.
To better help you understand what DMV hearings entail, we will go over everything you need to know about them, including the steps you need to take, what you need to prove, and how a criminal defense lawyer can fight for you.
The DMV Hearing After a DWI Arrest
After a DWI arrest, if you refuse or fail a blood or a breath test in Texas, the officer will immediately take your license away and issue you a temporary driving permit.
However, once this occurs, you will only have 15 days from the date of your arrest to request a DMV hearing, also known as an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing, with DPS to challenge this suspension. If you do not request this hearing in time, the state can suspend your driving privileges and you can lose your license for several years, depending on the nature and the severity of the DWI charges.
The Steps to Take in a DMV Hearing
Typically, when it comes to a DMV hearing in Texas, there are usually a few steps that an individual should take if they want to have the best chance of winning their case. These steps include the following:
#1. Request a DMV hearing
The Texas Department of Public Safety must receive a DMV hearing request no later than 15 days after you receive notice your license has been denied or suspended. This request can be sent by fax, a written demand, or any other way that is allowed by DPS. Yet, if you do not request this hearing, DPS will automatically suspend your license after 40 days from being served notice. (This is usually 40 days after your arrest).
If the hearing is requested within 15 days, DPS will send a letter notifying the driver of the hearing’s time, date, and location. However, it is important to note that it can take up to 120 days for DPS to schedule a hearing.
#2. Subpoena Witnesses
A subpoena is an order that requires an individual to appear at a hearing and give testimony. If the individual has relevant documents, this subpoena can also require that the person bring them to the hearing.
Generally, in an in-person DMV hearing, you can subpoena the police officer who arrested you. If this officer does show up, you will often be able to win your case outright.
#3. Request Records
You may request documents and evidence from DPS through discovery. These records often include the officer’s dashcam video, if there is any, your driving record, and the officer’s arrest report.
#4. Prepare Testimony
Remember, the prosecutor in your criminal DWI case can use any of your sworn testimony against you. That is why you should prepare your testimony before presenting it at the DMV hearing so that you can avoid making any self-incriminating statements during the hearing.
#5. Prepare Strong Arguments
If an officer stops your vehicle in Texas, they need reasonable suspicion to do so. As a result, if you can show there was a lack of reasonable suspicion for stopping your vehicle, there is a good chance you can win the hearing.
However, to show this, you need to remember that reasonable suspicion involves the officer having a reason to believe you were committing an offense.
Consequently, things that go into reasonable suspicion include:
- Police calls that made the officer believe they had to stop you
- Driving behavior that was consistent with signs of intoxication
- Videos that captured the alleged traffic violation
In addition, you can also show that the officer lacked probable cause to arrest you. This means that the officer did not have articulable facts that showed you committed an offense, such as admissions, field sobriety tests, and other evidence, including your appearance or odors. As a result, if you can prove a lack of probable cause, this proof can also help you win your DMV hearing.
#6. Get Legal Help
Typically, when it comes to these hearings, DPS will usually have the upper hand, especially since the burden of proof they need to meet is generally low, and they know that most individuals attending this hearing are not knowledgeable enough or have the resources to take on these DMV hearings themselves.
Thankfully, if you decide to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney, you will not have to take on DPS alone. With their knowledge and experience, these attorneys can take on these DMV hearings for you and fight to defend your license.
How Can an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Help With Your DMV Hearing?
If police arrested you for a DWI or you face a DMV hearing, reach out to an experienced DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Once retained, your lawyer can provide the legal representation you need during this challenging time and handle all the steps necessary to fight for the best outcome in your DMV hearing, including:
- Scheduling your hearing and preparing your testimony
- Cross-examining the officer and obtaining relevant evidence related to what the officer missed while trying to build a DWI case against you
- Dissecting the evidence in your case to find the best approach for introducing reasonable doubt and making sure that the Department of Public Safety does not meet its burden of proof