Having your driver’s license suspended is tough. You need a suspended license lawyer who can aggressively defend you and pursue reinstatement of your driver’s license. Without a license you can’t drive to work, you can’t drive your kids to school, you can’t drive to the grocery store, and you lose your independence. If you recently had your Texas driver’s license suspended, there are some things you should know about the laws surrounding drinking and driving license revocation penalties.
Caught driving with a suspended license? We never recommend driving with a suspended license, because the consequences likely do not outweigh the benefits. But we also know that life happens, and sometimes you don’t have another option. If you were caught driving with a suspended license out of necessity or because of an emergency, our defense attorneys can provide legal counsel and a strong defense in Court.
Here’s What You Should Know About Driver’s License Suspension
Applied Consent & Refusing a Sobriety Test
When you operate a motor vehicle on any Texas road and have a valid driver’s license, you have given your “implied consent” to a breathalyzer, blood test, or other alcohol test if a law enforcement officer suspects you are driving under the influence. Refusing to take a breath test after being pulled over by a law enforcement officer results in automatic suspension of your driver’s license (called Administrative License Revocation), even if you haven’t had a drop to drink.
What If the Test Says I’m Over the Limit?
If you consent to a blood or breath test after being pulled over and the test reveals your blood alcohol content is 0.08 or higher, you’ll be arrested and charged with DWI. If it’s your first drunk driving arrest, the arresting officer will take your driver’s license and issue you a temporary driving permit to be used until you’ve completed the administrative review process, explained below. Our attorneys can help you get your license back if the charges were dropped, and you may be eligible for an occupational license.
WARNING: You only have 15 days to request an ALR hearing and fight suspension of your license. Contact our law firm for help now.
What other reasons can your driver’s license be suspended for?
Although most license suspensions are due to a DWI charge, there are a few other situations in which your license may be suspended or relinquished.
- Driving without insurance
- Multiple Traffic Tickets & Moving Violations
- Medically Unfit to Operate a Vehicle
Being pulled over for committing a traffic violation — or worse, being involved in an accident — without valid auto insurance can subject you to license suspension until you’re able to obtain and provide proof of insurance.
Being cited for several speeding tickets or red light violations within a fairly brief period of time can add “points” to your license; once you reach a certain points threshold, your license may be suspended until you’ve paid a fine or completed traffic school.
Some conditions like epilepsy, glaucoma, narcolepsy, or other vision or motor control issues can make driving a dangerous prospect. If you’ve been determined medically unable to drive, your license will be relinquished until you’re able to provide a doctor’s note indicating the condition has resolved or these restrictions should otherwise be lifted.
How long can your license be suspended or restricted for a DWI charge?
The length of a license suspension can vary based on the age of the driver, the type of driver’s license held, actions taken during the DWI stop, and the driver’s prior criminal history. An experienced lawyer can help reduce the term or get you a temporary occupational driver’s license that allows you to drive to and from places that are essential for you and your family.
License Suspension Periods for Adults Over 21, Minors, & CDL Holders
- Adults 21 and over who:
- Consent to a blood test and are deemed over the legal limit can face a suspension of up to 90 days (or up to one year if they have one or more prior DWI convictions within the past decade);
- Adults who refuse to consent to a blood test can face a driver’s license suspension of up to 180 days (or up to two years if they have one or more prior DWI convictions).
- Minors under 21 who:
- Consent to a blood test and have some alcohol in their system, even less than .08 BAC, can face a suspension of up to 60 days for a first offense, 120 days for a second offense, and 180 days for a third or higher offense;
- Refuse to consent to a blood test can face a suspension of up to 180 days (or up to two years if they have one or more prior DWI convictions or certain other alcohol-related driving charges).
- Adults who hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) who:
- Consent to a blood test and have a .04 or higher BAC while driving a commercial vehicle; or a .08 BAC while driving a passenger vehicle; or who refuse to consent to a blood test at all, can face a suspension of up to one year;
- CDL drivers suspected of DWI while transporting hazardous material refuse to consent to an alcohol test; or who have a BAC of .04 or higher while transporting hazardous material can face a license suspension of up to one year and a restriction of three years on transporting hazardous cargo.
Can I Stop My License from Being Suspended If Charged with a DWI?
After a DWI arrest, you’ll have the opportunity to contest the suspension of your driver’s license at an administrative review hearing. If you fail to request a hearing (or if the outcome of the hearing is not in your favor), your license will be automatically suspended 40 days after your arrest.
Can I Appeal a DWI Driver’s License Suspension?
If you request an administrative review hearing and the administrative law judge determines your license should be suspended, you have the right to appeal. You or your defense lawyer need to file this appeal within 30 days of the decision being issued or your ability to appeal will be forfeited.
Will I Lose My Job if My License Gets Suspended for Drunk Driving?
Texas is an “at will” employment state and employers are free to legally dismiss workers for any (non-discriminatory) reason, including a criminal arrest. However, those who otherwise remain employed may be concerned about their ability to get to and from work every day without a valid driver’s license.
An occupational driver’s license can help. Applying for and receiving this license can allow you to travel from home to work, to doctor’s appointments, or even to your child’s school while your license is suspended; however, varying from the pre-approved destinations can subject you to arrest.