Texas DWI Attorneys Explain Under License Suspension


Texas DWI Attorneys Explain Under License Suspension

Getting arrested for DWI in Texas can be scary. Not only are you facing criminal charges, but your driver’s license is also at risk of being suspended. This can cause major disruptions to your daily life. In this article, Texas DWI attorneys will explain everything you need to know about under license suspension after a DWI charge.

What is an Under License Suspension?

An under license suspension refers to the temporary loss of driving privileges after being arrested for DWI in Texas. There are two ways your license can be suspended:

  • Administrative License Revocation (ALR) – The Department of Public Safety can suspend your license if you fail or refuse to provide a breath or blood test. This is an administrative action separate from criminal court.
  • Driver License Suspension – The court can order this as part of sentencing if you are convicted of DWI. It takes effect after any ALR suspension period.

The ALR suspension happens first and is triggered by the arrest. The court-ordered suspension happens after a conviction. Between the two, your license could be suspended for several months or even years depending on your specific case.

ALR Hearing – Your Only Chance to Save Your License

After a DWI arrest in Texas, you have 15 days to request an ALR hearing to contest the administrative license suspension. This is your only chance to try and stop the ALR suspension from going into effect. If you don’t request the hearing, your license will automatically be suspended about 40 days after arrest.

At the ALR hearing, there are certain issues that can be challenged – for example, whether the officer had reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop, if you were properly advised of the consequences of refusing the breath test, or if your blood test was conducted properly. Your DWI defense attorney will advise you on the best arguments to try to beat the ALR suspension at the hearing.

How Long is the ALR Suspension Period?

If your license does get suspended through the ALR process, here is how long you can expect to lose your driving privileges:

  • First DWI offense – suspension of 90 days to 1 year
  • Second DWI offense – suspension of 180 days to 2 years
  • Third DWI offense – suspension of 1 to 2 years

The length of the ALR suspension depends on factors like your criminal history and blood alcohol concentration at the time of arrest. For example, higher BAC levels generally result in longer suspension periods.

Occupational Licenses – Limited Driving with a Suspended License

If your license is suspended due to a DWI arrest, you may be able to get an occupational license. This allows for limited driving privileges for certain purposes like going to work, school, medical appointments, church services, etc.

The process for getting an occupational license in Texas involves:

  • Filing a petition with the court and paying a fee
  • Having an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle
  • Providing proof of financial responsibility (SR-22 insurance)
  • Following any other conditions set by the judge

An experienced DWI lawyer can request an occupational license as part of your ALR hearing, or file the petition for you if your license is already suspended.

Suspension Periods After a DWI Conviction

If you are convicted of DWI following the criminal trial, the penalties from the court will include an additional driver’s license suspension. Unlike the ALR suspension, this one takes effect after you complete any previously imposed ALR suspension period.

Here are the typical driver’s license suspension periods after a DWI conviction in Texas:

  • First DWI – suspension of 90 days to 1 year
  • Second DWI – suspension of 180 days to 2 years
  • Third DWI – suspension of 2 years minimum

For first-time offenders, the judge may allow restricted driving privileges similar to an occupational license after the first 30 days of the suspension. Repeat offenders are not eligible for restricted privileges.

Suspension Periods for Underage Drivers

The rules are stricter when it comes to underage drivers under 21 arrested for DWI. If convicted, an underage driver faces:

  • First DWI – suspension of 90 days to 1 year
  • Second DWI – suspension until turning 21 or at least 1 year

Unlike older drivers, there is no option for restricted driving privileges or occupational licenses for underage drivers suspended for DWI. The suspension must be served in full.

Other Consequences of DWI License Suspension

Beyond just losing your driving privileges, a DWI suspension can bring many additional headaches:

  • SR-22 insurance requirements – 3 years for first DWI, 5 years for repeat offenses
  • Surcharges on auto insurance – additional $1000 to $2000 per year for 3 years
  • Reinstatement fees – $100 to $200 paid to DMV
  • Potential loss of job if driving is required
  • Difficulty completing probation terms without a license
  • Possible jail time if caught driving while suspended

Dealing with a suspended license is not easy, so taking steps to avoid suspension in the first place through a strong defense is key.

How an Attorney Can Help With License Suspension

Having an experienced DWI lawyer on your side can help when your license is at risk. Here are some of the ways a lawyer can assist:

  • Guide you through the ALR hearing process and build defenses against the ALR suspension
  • Advise you of your rights and ensure proper procedures are followed
  • Request occupational or restricted licenses where appropriate
  • Negotiate with the prosecutor to minimize license suspension periods
  • Develop defenses against the DWI charges to avoid suspension entirely
  • Handle paperwork and communicate with the DMV on your behalf

With so much on the line, working with a lawyer knowledgeable in DWI license suspension rules can help minimize damage to your driving privileges.

Don’t Wait to Get Legal Help for DWI

Being arrested for DWI in Texas is scary, but you don’t have to go through it alone. With the right legal guidance, you may be able to avoid or reduce license suspension and get your driving privileges back. Consult with a DWI defense attorney immediately after an arrest to start building your case right away.



[1] DWI License Suspension in Texas | Trey Porter Law

[2] DWI And Driver License Suspension | Trichter, LeGrand, Houlton & White

[3] Texas DWI and License Suspension | Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C.

[4] DWI License Suspension Lawyer – Keates Law Firm – Austin

[5] Avoiding a DWI License Suspension in Texas | Thiessen Law Firm

[6] Is Your License Suspended After a DWI in Texas? | Brand & Resendez Law