An Overview of the Administrative License Procedure after DUI Arrest

What many people don’t realize about getting arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is that, apart from the criminal penalties and collateral consequences of pleading guilty or being found guilty, your license will generally be suspended through an administrative procedure. The state Department of Public Safety oversees this process, which is entirely separate from proceedings in criminal court. This blog will guide you through this process, which is officially referred to as the Administrative License Revocation (ALR). 

DWI Arrest

When a law enforcement officer suspects a motorist of being under the influence of alcohol or other substance, he or she will initiate a traffic stop and request certain things of the driver to gather evidence of a DWI offense. This usually begins with field sobriety tests (standing on one leg, walking heel-to-toe, etc.) and ends with a request for a breath or blood specimen test. At this point, your license can be suspended for one of two reasons:

  • Refusal to submit to a breath or blood test
  • The breath or blood test revealed your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .08 or greater (for a non-commercial vehicle; the limit for commercial vehicle drivers is .04 or greater). 

Fortunately, though, you will not lose your driving privileges on the spot. If you do have to forfeit your license, the police will give you a temporary license that will expire 40 days after its issuance. This slight delay gives you time to find alternate transportation arrangements to essential places (such as work or school). 

License Suspension Timeline

If your driver’s license is suspended after a DWI arrest, you must act quickly. If you refuse to take a breath or blood test, you have only 15 days to request a hearing with the Department of Public Safety to contest your license suspension, which you can do so on the agency’s website. If you are waiting on results from your blood test, you have 20 days from the mailing of the notice of suspension to request a hearing. 

At the hearing, the judge will hear arguments from your side and the arresting officer. By the time of your ALR hearing, you should have legal representation. Even if you are not able to get your full driving privileges restored, your attorney might be able to get you an occupational license that allows you to drive to and from essential places. 

If the state denies your request to have your driving privileges restored, you may appeal the decision. If your license stays suspended, the judge will also rule on the length of that suspension. The amount of time your license will be suspended depends on countless factors, including prior DWI convictions, your exact BAC level, and whether or not you caused a wreck that resulted in bodily harm. 


So, you made a mistake by getting behind the wheel when you had a little too much to drink. You’re probably already dealing with the consequences by facing a license suspension. However, you still have rights; there are also certain actions you need to take immediately so the consequences of your DWI arrest are kept to a minimum. Our firm would be more than happy to help you navigate the process after being arrested for DWI. Call us today at 713-227-4100 to discuss your options over a free consultation.

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The Law Offices of Charles A. Banker, III

Our firm’s founder, Charles A. Banker III, has been a solo criminal defense practitioner with offices in Houston and McAllen, TX for over 30 years. He understands what it means to work independently in today’s hyperconnected world, but he also knows that sometimes you need to lean on others.

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